How Does a Person Get Dupuytren's Contracture?
Dupuytren's contracture is a rare disorder that causes the deterioration of the connective tissue within the skin's fascia. The finger cannot be moved or stretched, even with great physical effort. A diagnosis includes a simple tabletop test to see if the person can straighten the damaged finger along with the others. The type of treatment is chosen based on the patient's symptoms. When injections do not work, a non-invasive or invasive surgery is performed and usually works in straightening the finger. However, many patients have recurrences unless they undergo proper postoperative care. Males who are 50 years or older are likely to develop the disease, but it affects people of all genders and ages. The following information gives a more detailed overview of this condition.
What is Dupuytren's Contracture?
Dupuytren's contracture is a disorder that causes one or multiple fingers to bend into a fixed, abnormal position. The finger usually starts out straight and then becomes permanently bent over time. The finger may experience some pain and discomfort. This disorder is serious since it interferes with the normal functions of the hand and fingers, which are needed to drive, write, grab objects and hold onto solid surfaces. Although the main causes are unknown, the disorder may be age related since it affects people in their 50s and older. The biological cause is a gradual deterioration of the connective tissue in the finger.
What Does Having it Feel like?
There are physical sensations described by people who have Dupuytren's contracture. They feel tingling sensations in the fingers along with aching, soreness and stiffness. Some people feel itching or burning like parts of the tissue have been set on fire. For the most part, they feel out of control because they can no longer control their fingers' movements. No matter how hard they try, they cannot straighten the finger. It feels like the finger is handcuffed or tied down by a strong string. It's difficult for them to perform basic functions with their hands like pick up objects.
Getting Treatment for Dupuytren's Contracture
Injections are the main course of treatment for Dupuytren's contracture. The medication is delivered directly into the Dupuytren's cord. Additional painkillers may be prescribed. Physical therapy is recommended to reduce stiffness and restore mobility in the fingers. A physical therapist may prescribe sessions several times a week for months or years. Some patients try to perform their own physical therapy, but that is not recommended and may cause further damage.
Surgery is the most effective method used to straighten the finger to a natural position. There are different types of surgery available based on the extent of damage. Fasciectomy is the process of removing the fascia or part of the skin layer. Dermofasciectomy includes the removal of the fascia, skin and cords. It's a serious procedure that is recommended for patients with high recurrence rates. Needle aponeurotomy is the use of a needle to cut the cords. It's performed under local anesthesia in a doctor's office. After surgery, most patients are encouraged to undergo hand therapy to prevent a recurrence of this condition. Some patients receive splints to force the finger into place. Since the recurrence rates are high in patients of all ages, doctors also encourage them to exercise their fingers regularly. In addition, Dupuytren's contracture is one of many disorders that is undergoing experimental treatments. Patients can participate in clinical trials while they receive experimental therapies.
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