Dupuytren contracture is a condition that causes one or more fingers to bend toward the palm of the hand. The affected fingers can't straighten completely.
Knots of tissue form under the skin. They eventually create a thick cord that can pull the fingers into a bent position. The condition gradually gets worse with time.
Dupuytren contracture most often affects the two fingers farthest from the thumb. This can complicate everyday activities such as placing your hands in your pockets, putting on gloves or shaking hands.
There's no cure for Dupuytren contracture. Treatments can relieve symptoms and slow how quickly the condition gets worse.
Dupuytren contracture gets worse slowly, over years. The condition begins with a firm lump in the palm of the hand. This lump can be painful or painless.
Over time, the lump can extend into a hard cord under the skin and up into the finger. This cord tightens and pulls the finger toward the palm, sometimes severely.
Dupuytren contracture most commonly affects the two fingers farthest from the thumb. The condition often occurs in both hands.
The cause of Dupuytren contracture is unknown. The condition tends to run in families. It’s more common in men than in women.
Risk factors for Dupuytren contracture include:
- Age. Dupuytren contracture occurs most commonly after the age of 50.
- Sex. Men are much more likely to develop Dupuytren than are women. In men, symptoms may be worse and progress more quickly.
- Ancestry. People of Northern European descent are at higher risk of the disease.
- Family history. Dupuytren contracture often runs in families.
- Occupation. Some studies show a connection between Dupuytren contracture and workers who use vibrating tools.
- Diabetes. People with diabetes have an increased risk of Dupuytren contracture.
- Tobacco and alcohol use. Smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol both increase the risk of Dupuytren contracture.