Mercy Hospital & Health Services Contact Us
MyChart
About Mercy
Join Our Team
set font size large set font size medium set font size small
email this page print this page
Health Illustrated Encyclopedia Banner
Health Illustrated Encyclopedia

Disclaimer:
Our Health Information Database is provided by A.D.A.M. the leading provider of electronic and printed information for professionals and consumers in healthcare and industry. It provides authoritative, reliable content written and reviewed by an editorial board who represent a variety of specialty areas. This board reviews and evaluates all healthcare information to ensure it is accurate, reliable, and can be used with complete confidence. And now you have access to the same authoritative, trusted clinical information relied upon by health professionals around the world.
Dupuytren’s contracture

Definition

Dupuytren's contracture is a painless thickening and contracture of tissue beneath the skin on the palm of the hand and fingers.

Alternative Names

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The cause is unknown, but minor injury and your genes may make you more likely to develop this condition.

One or both hands may be affected. The ring finger is affected most often, followed by the little, middle, and index fingers.

A small, painless nodule develops in the connective tissue on the palm side of the hand and eventually develops into a cord-like band. In severe cases, it's difficult or even impossible to extend the fingers.

The condition becomes more common after the age of 40. Men are affected more often than women. Risk factors are alcoholism, epilepsy, pulmonary tuberculosis, diabetes, and liver disease.

Symptoms

  • Difficulty extending the fingers -- the fourth and fifth fingers curl up and are unable to be easily straightened
  • Painless nodule in the palm, developing into a cord-like band
  • Thickening of the lines in the palms of the hands

Signs and tests

A physical examination of the palm by touch (palpation) confirms the presence of thickened scar tissue (fibrosis) and contracture. Restriction of motion is common.

Treatment

Exercises, warm water baths, or splints may be helpful.

Surgery may be performed to release the contracture, depending on the severity of the condition. Normal movement of the fingers is usually restored by surgery followed by physical therapy exercises for the hand.

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

The disorder progresses at an unpredictable rate. Surgical treatment can usually restore normal movement to the fingers. The disease can recur following surgery in some cases.

Complications

Worsening of the contracture may result in deformity and loss of function of the hand.

There is a risk of injury to blood vessels and nerves during surgery.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of this disorder.

Prevention

Awareness of risk factors may allow early detection and treatment.

References

Calandruccio JH. Dupuytren contracture. In: Canale ST, Beatty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 72.

Mercier LR. The forearm, wrist, and hand. In: Mercier LR, ed. Practical Orthopedics. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 7.

View Spanish Version

Encyclopedia Home
Drug Note Home
Health Information Home

Images

Care Points
    Read More

    Review Date: 7/10/2009

    Review By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

    The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

    www.adam.com
    www.mercyweb.org
    follow us online
    facebook youtube


    Contact us
    Home  |  Sitemap

    Disclaimer & Terms of Use  |  Privacy Statement  |  Notice of Privacy Practices
    Copyright ©2013 Mercy. Last modified 2/16/2011