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What is the treatment for a Dupuytren's contracture?

The treatment of a Dupuytren's contracture depends on the severity and the underlying condition of the affected individual.

Most patients with a Dupuytren's contracture require reassurance and stretching exercises with heat application. When the palm is persistently sore with grasping, ultrasound treatments can be helpful. Sometimes local inflammation is best relieved with cortisone injection.

For patients with significant fixed flexed posture (contracture) of the fingers from a Dupuytren's contracture, when nonsurgical treatments have failed, surgical procedures can remove the scarred tissue to free the fingers and release the tendons. These procedures can return function to a disabled hand. Minor nodule formation and/or skin thickening of the palm is not a reason to operate. Sometimes the surgeon can release the scarred tissue by carefully cutting it with a needle. This procedure is referred to as a needle aponeurotomy or needle fasciotomy.

A newer treatment for a Dupuytren's contracture is collagenase (Xiaflex) injection. The scar tissue that forms the contracture is composed of a protein network called collagen. Collagenase is an enzyme that breaks up the collagen, which can then loosen the contracted tissue to restore finger mobility. Collagenase is directly injected into the contracted "cord" of scar tissue that causes the Dupuytren's contracture.

Return to Dupuytren's Contracture

See what others are saying

Comment from: Nigel, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: April 05

I am 79. I was diagnosed with Dupuytren's contracture 3 years ago and saw an orthopedic surgeon who measured the degree of contracture before telling me to return in 6 months. Several months later I accidentally straightened the affected finger (4th on the right hand) when closing the hatch back on a friend's car. I pulled down the hatch back with my fingers in the cavity intended for the purpose. It required some effort initially but once past the horizontal, went with a rush and as I was unable to extract my fingers quickly enough they were forcefully bent backwards. The pain was excruciating and I thought I had broken them, but happily that was not the case and the affected finger had more or less straightened out! I am now developing the same condition in the left hand, and now know the cheapest way to fix it but I doubt I would be brave enough to do it deliberately!

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Comment from: Richard, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: April 14

No treatment was successful for my Dupuytren's contracture. I had five surgeries over 20 years and, ultimately, Xiaflex injections (extremely painful procedures). Until the etiology of this disease is established, surgeons only treat the symptoms and not the underlying cause.

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Comment from: Liz, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 19

I've had great success with my Dupuytren's contracture massaging in Bio Oil for 5 minutes or so at night. When my scar tightened and puckered so much it was causing pain especially on flattening my hand I started rubbing in Bio Oil. It was nightly but now only weekly. The pain and tightening goes almost straight away. I believe it works by breaking down the excess collagen or at least making it suppler. It's been a huge relief for me as my hand still works well without any pain. I'd love to hear of others' experience with this.

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