What is Dupuytren’s Contracture?

Sep 7, 2016

What is Dupuytren’s Contracture

Dupuytren’s Contracture is described as a proliferation (or a cord) of tissue underneath the skin, usually in the hand, and around the ring and pinky fingers. As this tissue builds up, Dupuytren’s causes the fingers to bend, thus creating a contracture.

“The biggest reason why we see people with Dupuytren’s is, number one, people are concerned about why they have big bumps in their hand and why their fingers are starting to draw in but also because of the functional limitation for them,” said Dr. Chad Micucci, an orthopedic surgeon in Morgantown at Mountainstate Orthopedic Associates.

Although this generally affects the same area as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Dupuytren’s Contracture is entirely different. Whereas Carpal Tunnel is a nerve issue, Dupuytren’s is skin-related.

Doctors say it’s more common than people may think. Dr. Micucci said oftentimes people may have it and not even realize it, which tends to be the case with less severe instances of Dupuytren’s.

What is a “Cord”?

As mentioned above, a cord is the buildup of tissue underneath skin.

“A deep tissue under our skin in the palm basically forms a cord-like structure. So it’s just a thickening, but then it starts the ‘drawing-in’ of affected fingers,” said Dr. Micucci.

Causes of Dupuytren’s Contracture

Doctors are not 100 percent sure of what causes Dupuytren’s Contracture. However, studies show that people with Northern European ancestry are more likely to develop it.  It’s also more common in men, those over the age of 50 and those who regularly use tobacco and alcohol.

Symptoms of Dupuytren’s Contracture

There aren’t many known symptoms, but those reported include:

  • Difficulty grabbing items with affected hand
  • Not able to make a fist with affected hand
  • Not able to straighten fingers

Regarding symptoms, Dr. Micucci said, “Some people complain of pain, but it’s more of a functional thing. They’re having trouble grasping items, shaking hands, etc. It’s a nuisance to them.”

Treatment for Dupuytren’s Contracture

There are two main treatments for Dupuytren’s.  These are:

  • Surgery to remove tissue buildup
  • Xiaflex injections

Mountainstate Orthopedic Associates

Mountainstate Orthopedic Associates is able to treat patients with Dupuytren’s Contracture. Dr. Micucci treats many common hand and upper extremity orthopedic conditions and specializes in Xiaflex injections that will help you on the road to recovery.

Next week’s blog will be all about Xiaflex injections.  Stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you experience hand pain and wish to schedule an appointment with MOA, call us at 304-599-0720.  To learn more about Dr. Micucci, visit his page here.