Dupuytren’s contracture is a deformity that rarely causes pain but leads to limited use of the hand. It occurs when the palmar fascia, a tough, fibrous layer of tissue in the palm of the hand, thickens and contracts. Nodules, or small, hard knots, may form near the base of the fingers and hard bands may form across the palm, pulling the fingers toward the palm. The ring and pinky fingers are most often affected.
TreatmentLess severe cases of Dupuytren’s can be treated by removing or breaking apart the cords that are pulling the fingers toward the palm. This can be done in two ways: needling and enzyme injections.
Needling is a technique that uses a needle to puncture the cord of tissue that’s contracting the finger. It doesn’t require an incision and very little therapy is required after. However, contractures can reoccur, and while the procedure can be performed again, it cannot be performed in the same location on the finger.
An enzyme injection softens and weakens the affected palm tissue, allowing the doctor to attempt to break the cord and straighten your fingers. This procedure is usually more painful than needling initially. Surgery is another treatment option for those whose hand mobility is severely restricted by the disease. During surgery, the surgeon removes the affected part of the palmar fascia. While surgery results in a more complete joint release, recovery time is longer and extensive physical therapy is usually needed.