Slowly but surely- this is how Dupuytren’s contracture progresses. A hand deformity that develops gradually, usually manifesting symptoms at age 40 onwards. Named after Dr. Baron Guillame Dupuytren, this disease is a fixed flexion contracture of the hand; oftentimes, the fingers are bent towards the palm and can’t be extended to its full extent. Years and centuries after the Dr. Dupuytren’s brave attempt to correct this affliction, more treatment of Dupuytren’s contracture have been discovered and implemented.
- If the disease progression is still at its onset and your hand abilities are still intact, you may not need any treatment yet. But, as this is a slow-pacing thief, you need to do early remedies, applicable at home, or anywhere you may be. Stretching your fingers – bending them backwards from your palm or placing your fingers flat on a table while lifting your palm – can be very helpful to diminish flexion. Before doing this, apply a heat pack on your hand, and massage your palms with a lanolin cream. As much as possible, in any grasping or gripping tasks, protect your hands by wearing heavily-padded gloves or building up handles with cushion tape or pipe insulation. Simply, avoid extreme and prolonged hand flexion!
- But if the disease is highly unstoppable, at the peak of its symptomatic stage, medical treatment should get involve. This shall include removing or breaking apart the cords that have attached, thus pulling your fingers in toward your palm. Choice of procedure is based on the severity of the disease and other health issues you may have.
- A treatment that does not require any incision, needling technique uses a needle, inserted through the skin which breaks or puncture the tissue cords that contract the finger. Yet, contractures may recur but the procedure can be done on several fingers at the same time with a very little physical therapy needed afterwards. However, don’t overdo it, as it may damage a nerve or tendon!
- Enzyme injections apply the same principle to needling. Enzymes are injected to puncture the cord – by making it soft and weak – so that the doctor can manipulate the hand, break the cord and straighten your fingers. No incision needed, but it can be painful initially.
- For worse cases and long term – if not lifetime results – surgery allows the doctor to remove all the tissues that are affected by the contracture and gaining complete joint release. Just like its prolonged advantage, surgery may require long term recovery and intensive physical therapy.
Hands are man’s productivity tool. Although, the disease can be genetic, acquiring it still depends on how much we take care of our hands or how early we receive treatments of Dupuytren’s contracture, and regain that soaring high five!