What is Dupuytren’s Contracture?
Dupuytren’s contracture is a progressive condition that affects one or both hands. It affects the tissue under the skin of the palm. Bands or cords that run up the hand begin to thicken and tighten pulling the fingers into a bent position. The condition is most commonly seen affecting the little and ring finger.
The thickened tissue forms lumps and feels tender. The curling of fingers leads to pain and reduced mobility.
During the contraction of the palm and fingers, the compressed tissue becomes sensitive making it difficult to use the hands.
There is no cure for Dupuytren’s contracture, but the discomfort can be lessened through several treatments.
Pain Relief Tips for Dupuytren’s Contracture
Hand Protection: A way to comfort the hand with Dupuytren’s Contracture is using hand protection.
While working, using padded gloves can reduce the pressure on the palm as it can irritate nodules, grooves, or tender skin.
Magnesium: Magnesium supplements can help relax a contracture. It was found that a woman with Dupuytren’s Contracture reported a reduction in symptoms after using magnesium supplements.(1)
It is suggested to check the magnesium levels before supplementing it as an excess of this mineral can be harmful. You can also speak with your healthcare provider on whether the supplement is good for you or not.
Surgery: It is the most common treatment for the advanced stage of Dupuytren’s Contracture. Surgery helps relieve the pain and reduce mobility.
During the procedure, the thickened tissue from the palm is removed.
Extensive surgery is a need in severe cases of Dupuytren’s contracture that involves removal of all the affected tissue and even the surrounding skin on the palm. Then the parts of the palm are covered with skin grafts.
Needle Aponeurotomy: Needle aponeurotomy is a procedure that can help straighten the fingers that have been bent due to Dupuytren’s contracture. It also provides pain relief.
This procedure does not require an incision. During the procedure, the hand is numbed. A needle is used to separate or break the band of tissue that is causing the fingers to contract.
The procedure can be repeated if in the future the fingers return to bent.
Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is a treatment option that is required after surgery or needling procedure to regain mobility and functional strength.
Even without surgery or any other treatment, physical therapy can help reduce pain and increase the range of motion. The treatments in physical therapy include:
- Heat therapy
Radiation Therapy: In radiation therapy, low energy X-rays are directed at the cords of tissue to soften the nodules in the palm.
The treatment is not used frequently but can ease tenderness and itching.
Steroid Injection: Steroid injection can help ease inflammation and tenderness. If used for long it can also help overcome the progression of disease in some people.
A steroid injection can also carry a risk of tendon rupture or skin atrophy at the site of injection.
Enzyme Injection: An enzyme, collagenase histolytica is used for the treatment of Dupuytren’s contracture.
During the procedure, the surgeon numbs the hand and injects the enzyme into the thickened band of tissue. As the drug softens the tissue the doctor then breaks the problematic cord.
Home Remedies for Dupuytren’s Contracture
Massage: Massaging the whole hand and fingers can be helpful in reducing pain.
Make sure you massage the hand gently. Also, rub the area including the thickening of the palm, and work the way up to the fingers.
You can massage yourself or get it done by a therapist experienced in working with Dupuytren’s contracture.
Healthy Diet: Diet can help reduce the symptoms associated with Dupuytren’s contracture.
Those with diabetes are told by the doctor about the importance of healthy eating as a part of life.
Quitting Smoking and Reducing Drinking: Smoking cigarettes is linked with Dupuytren’s contracture statistically.(2) It can play a role in microvascular impairment that can lead to Dupuytren’s contracture.
Quitting smoking can be an important step in the progression of the disease.
Supplements: Along with healthy eating adding supplements to the diet can be a good choice. Certain supplements such as vitamin E, zinc, magnesium, and turmeric can reduce inflammation and play a role in managing symptoms of Dupuytren’s contracture.
Dupuytren’s contracture is a progressive condition with no cure. The symptoms can be controlled with a few options that range from home remedies to surgery. Always speak to your healthcare provider for the best option.
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