Dupuytren's Contracture

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

What are the symptoms and signs of a Dupuytren's contracture?

A Dupuytren's contracture initially may cause only a minor painless lump in the palm of the hand near the base of the finger(s). A Dupuytren's contracture most commonly affects the ring (fourth) finger and little finger, but it can affect any finger. A Dupuytren's contracture can also affect one or both hands.

As a Dupuytren's contracture progresses, it can lead to an inability to fully extend the affected finger from the flexed position. This can result in a loss of normal grasping.

A Dupuytren's contracture is seldom associated with much, if any, pain unless the affected fingers are inadvertently forcefully hyperextended.

Is a Dupuytren's contracture limited to the hands?

Interestingly, a Dupuytren's contracture is sometimes associated with inflammation and thickening of the fascia tissue in a similar manner of the sole of the foot. This condition is called Ledderhose disease, or plantar fascial fibromatosis, and is sometimes associated with plantar fasciitis. It can sometimes be felt as a nodule or group of nodules in the middle of the sole of the foot.

Very rarely, a Dupuytren's contracture occurs in association with an uncommon scarring condition of the penis called Peyronie's disease.

How do health-care professionals diagnose a Dupuytren's contracture?

A Dupuytren's contracture is diagnosed by the doctor during the physical examination of the affected hand. X-rays and other tests are usually not necessary.

Previous burns or hand injury can lead to scar formation in the palm of the hand that can mimic true a Dupuytren's contracture.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/3/2015

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