Dupuytren contractures is a disease that affects the soft tissue (connective tissue) of the hand. The third (middle finger), fourth (ring finger), and fifth (pinky) digits of the hand are affected. Dupuytren is not very common. It can occur at any age and is typically seen in patients of Nordic descent. This condition may first appear as hard nodules underneath the palm of the skin.
Sometimes these nodules will go away without treatment. However, if left untreated, the hand may become deformed since the contractures become worse due to the thickening and shortening of connective tissue, which cause the fingers to curl towards the palm. The shortening of the connective tissue makes it difficult to extend the affected fingers. Patients with severe contractures tend to experience burning and tenderness in the palm of their hands.
It wasn’t until I began working in a pain management clinic that I met patients living with Dupuytren Contractures. The majority of the patients are older men who perform manual labor. They receive corticosteroid trigger point injections every two months. However, if the injections are no longer effective, a referral to a hand surgeon is necessary.
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. (2019). Dupuytren Contractures. Retrieved from https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/dupuytrens-disease/