Dupuytren's Contracture (Starts as Lump on Hand) How to Treat
Dupuytren's Contracture: Protecting Your Hands
Q: My doctor says I have early Dupuytren's contracture. Can I still do activities that put stress on my hands, like weight-lifting and biking?
A:Dupuytren's contracture is a fibrosing (causing fibrous tissue to form) and scarring condition of the skin on the palm of the hand, usually centered over the fourth and fifth flexor tendons, or the ring and pinky fingers, and less frequently over the third tendon, or the middle finger. The cause is unknown, but it’s typically seen in northern European males over the age of 50. It can also be associated with diabetes and other skin fibrosing disorders, and repetitive trauma may make the condition worse.
Over time, the thickening tissue in the palm can cause the involved finger or fingers to be pulled down, or contracted. Treatments start with conservative stretching of the flexor tendons to prevent the contracture from developing. In more severe cases, you may need an injection of steroids or an enzyme to dissolve the thickened nodule or surgery to remove the fibrous tissue and loosen the involved tendons.
If you have Dupuytren’s contracture, you are not restricted from exercising with your hands, but certainly you should avoid a tight grip on objects. Protect your hands by wearing gloves with palm pads. If your work or exercise routine involves weight against the palm of the hand, increase the size of any handles or bars you use. Biking and weight lifting gloves are also excellent choices to allow you to exercise without aggravating Dupuytren's contracture.
In addition, everyone with Dupuytren's contracture should stretch their hands regularly — but do so gently. Place your hand palm side down on a table and lift your palm up, stretching the extended fingers. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and then bring the palm back down to the table. Repeat this 5 to 10 times at least twice a day.
Video: Dupuytren's Contracture Release by Dr. Thomas Trumble
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