Dupuytren’s disease is an abnormal thickening of the palm that may limit movement of the fingers. In serious cases, a cord forms beneath the skin that stretches from the palm into the fingers. The cord causes fingers to bend into the palm so they cannot be fully extended. Sometimes, the disease will affect other areas of the body – such as the knuckles of the fingers or the soles of the feet. The cause of Dupuytren’s is unknown and there is no permanent cure. But, the disease is harmless and painless.
Dupuytren’s disease mostly affects white people with ancestors from Northern Europe. It occurs more often in men than in women, and usually starts after age 40. In many cases, the disease runs in families.
Some people may develop a more severe form of Dupuytren’s disease. These may be people who:
Dupuytren’s disease usually shows up as a small lump or pit in the palm. This tends to occur near the crease of the hand that is closest to the base of the ring and little fingers. With time, the cord may develop between the palm and the fingers. The disease is usually noticed when the palm cannot be placed flat on an even surface, such as a tabletop. In severe cases, drawing of the fingers into the palm interferes with everyday activities, like washing hands, wearing gloves, and putting hands into pockets.
There is no permanent cure for Dupuytren’s disease. Surgery can relieve the bending of the fingers into the palm, but the condition can return with time. The goal of surgery for Dupuytren’s disease is to restore straightening of the fingers. Your doctor should advise you on whether surgery is recommended in your case.
Some considerations on surgery: