Dupuytren's Contracture

How Can Dupuytren’s Disease Affect Hand Mobility?

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The use of our hands is something that should not be taken for granted. Day to day tasks will become extremely difficult if our hands don’t work properly. Can you imagine doing your daily activities with a deform hand?

Dupuytren’s Contracture actually makes that imagination a reality. It causes the deformation of hands over the years. Though this dysfunction is treatable but still it creates a lot of problems in our daily lives. We tend to ignore the symptoms earlier because of a lack of knowledge about this contracture. To better prevent this life-hindering disease, we must educate ourselves to the best of our ability on the topic. Proper observation is very important regarding the little changes towards dysfunction.

What is Dupuytren’s Contracture?

The formation of knots in tissue at the button of the finger’s base is called Dupuytren’s Contracture. Pulling off one or more fingers towards the palm in an uncomfortable angle causes Dupuytren’s Contracture. The fascia, or the lower layers of the tissue under the skin in our hands, is what is principally affected by the disease. A moderate thickening and tightening of the skin in hand are observed in  Dupuytren’s Contracture, this mostly affects the 4th and 5th fingers of the hand and results in bending of the finger towards the palm for a longer time.

 Dupuytren’s Contracture is an inherited disorder. It is a deformity that develops over the years, basically the muscle contracts leading to serious hand deformity. It is one of the diseases that are very commonly passed on in genes and can be passed on for various generations. Dupuytren’s Contracture is not painful but is itchy and irritating. Mostly it happens at the age of 50 and above and mainly in men. It is also called “Viking diseases”.

Who is most at risk of suffering from Dupuytren’s Contracture?

  • Dupuytren’s Contracture most commonly passed on in genes from our ancestors.
  • North European men are at a high risk of this deformation.
  • People having habits of smoking and drinking have a risk of this contracture. As they have microscopic changes in their blood vessels that cause tissue thickening.
  • Dupuytren’s Contracture affects diabetic patients.

What does Dupuytren’s Disease do to Hand Mobility?

Dupuytren’s Contracture is regarded as a deformity of the hand and treatment is considered essential in almost all cases. If not treated properly, side-effects will occur, such as:

Everyday tasks become Challenging to Perform with the Disease:

Due to the fingers being temporarily bent in a flexed position, it is expected that they cannot be relied upon for many tasks and may become an immovable and useless part of the hand. We learn that due to Dupuytren’s Contracture, we cannot shake hands with people. Activities such as putting your hands in your pockets to take out items, wearing gloves for winter or certain jobs, holding large objects whether for your job or a house chore and moving your hands into small spaces become almost completely undoable. 

The hand may be Disabled if Disease is Prolonged:

While many people consider treatment optional for Dupuytren’s Contracture, there are chances that the cords in the fascia will continue to thicken until the damage cannot be reversed. The fingers would become permanently fixed in their tightly bent position. In severe cases, when neglected, it may result in the eventual disability of the hand and you will most likely have to rely on risky surgery as your only treatment option.  

Permanent Flexion of the Fingers can be the End Result:

Allowing it to go untreated makes it likely to cause permanent damage, resulting in the fingers being permanently bent due to over-thickened cords. It can progress and continue to worsen over time if Dupuytren’s Contracture treatment is not considered and acted upon. It can be expected that Dupuytren’s nodules will continue developing. Eventually, this will make the fingers bend so badly that they may become stuck permanently. 

Living with it is not an Easy Task:

To remain independent, a lot of changes need to be made by patients of Dupuytren’s Contracture to keep living a comfortable life. The formation of the knots may become painful and itchy, and Dupuytren’s Contracture treatment is recommended to ease the pain. Working in a profession where gloves must be worn every day may cause you to give up your job or take a break from it as it is no longer performable.  Every activity requiring the holding of objects like pens, utensils, or things like door handles or mugs have a higher chance of becoming impossible.

How can Dupuytren’s Contracture be treated?

Dupuytren’s Contracture treatment is not a foreign concept and is considered to be essential in many cases, as the disease will continue progressing if left by itself. 

To prevent complications associated with the disease, a range of treatment options are available.

Conventional Methods of Treatment:

Injections: 

Corticosteroids can be injected into the nodule of the fascia to reduce the formation of knots. Any tenderness or inflammation would be reduced, and further thickening of the tissue is delayed. This results in a gradual decrease in the bend of the finger. 

Surgery:

Home Treatment Methods: Fasciotomy is a commonly known surgical method that includes the process of creating an incision into the palm and division of the thickened cords. Basically the fascia is slitted to release the tension or contraction in the tissue that causes deformity.it is mainly a limb saving procedure.

Another surgical method includes the removal of those cords and tissues causing spasm in fingers. This method is known as Subtotal Palmar Fasciectomy. This helps straighten the fingers affected.

For Dupuytren’s Contracture treatment, home remedies can be largely relied upon and they are often safer and more affordable than conventional methods. 

Dupuytren’s Wand:

Dupuytren’s Wand provides a safe and affordable Dupuytren’s Contracture treatment option. It uses ultrasound and infrared radiation to maximize the blood flow to the area to start tackling the swelling. Localized blood flow is increased to the knots formed under the skin, which decreases the swelling and gently massages the area.  

Dupuytren’s Tape:

Dupuytren’s Tape is another viable option for Dupuytren’s Contracture treatment, where the tape provides a gentle and consistent stretch. It secures the finger in a flexible position and prevents excessive movement. It can be worn for many hours at a time and eases your hand into having a better range of motion. It allows you to easily open and close it. 

Dupuytren’s Contracture can largely affect hand mobility and make it unusable for many activities, so treatment is essential. 

Stretching and Exercise

Stretching and continuous targeted exercises also help a lot with Dupuytren’s Contracture. It helps loosening of the cords and tissue that causes deformity. Continuous and helpful physiotherapies help to get better with the conditions. This is quite an easy and affordable way of treating muscle spasms.

Conclusion

Dupuytren’s Contracture is the debilitation of the finger muscles and tissues. It can easily be treated without surgeries if observed in earlier stages. Later stages of the deformity need surgeries. Having a healthy lifestyle helps prevent such problems .

Author Bio:

Stephanie is a passionate student of journalism and loves to write informative pieces in her free time. She feels that she has the power to educate others and spread knowledge with her words. When she is not educating others through her writing, she enjoys creative writing and runs her blog. 

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