Dupuytren’s contracture (DC) is a hand condition that can worsen over time. It is caused by a buildup of collagen in the palm beneath the surface of the skin. As the condition progresses, your fingers can bend and it may become more difficult to straighten them.
Collagen builds up in the hand beneath the surface of the skin
The buildup of collagen can form a collagen cord that extends from the palm into the fingers
The cord can tighten, making fingers bend toward the palm, and they cannot be straightened
While the exact cause of DC is unknown, it’s most common among individuals with Northern European ancestry. That’s why DC has been called the “Viking disease.”
» Men are affected by DC more often than women
» Symptoms usually appear later in life, after age 40, although they may occur in people as young as 20 years old
» A family history of DC may increase your risk of developing the disease
Contracture most commonly involves the joints at the base of the finger (MP) and the middle of the finger (PIP).
» It may be seen in one or both hands
» It can affect all fingers, but most commonly impacts the ring and pinky fingers
» The thumb, middle finger, and index finger are less commonly affected
MP=metacarpophalangeal; PIP=proximal interphalangeal
One method your doctor may use to help diagnose DC is the tabletop test. You can try this by laying your palm flat on a table. If you cannot lay your hand flat, you might have DC.
If you think you may have DC, find a hand specialist in your area today.
At first, it may not seem like DC is having much of an impact. But as the contracture progresses, it may affect your ability to perform certain tasks.
For example, people with DC may have difficulty doing the things they love, such as playing the piano.
Others find that even simple tasks at work—like typing on a keyboard or using tools—are now too difficult to perform.