Dupuytren’s contractures develop as a result of the thickening of palmar fascia in your hand. Cords develop that prevent your fingers from fully straightening. This deformity is more common in people with Northern European heritage. There is no specific known cause of the development of the contractures. It is easily diagnosed upon physical examination by a hand specialist. Usually the cords develop slowly and sometimes they may remain as a small lump in the palm that doesn’t affect finger extension. If this is the case, there is generally no treatment that is needed. Over time the cord may begin to tether the fingers down and affect hand function. If this is the case there is a treatment option that can be done without surgery.
An injection is given into the area of the palm where the cord is most prominent. The injection consists of an enzyme that breaks down the cord over the next 24 hours. The day following the injection you return to the office for manipulation of the cord. Depending on the severity of the contracture you may be at risk for skin tears which are usually minor and heal over the next couple weeks. Night splinting may also be used for several weeks after manipulation of the cord. The treatment is intended to be a permanent solution to the contracture, although there is always a chance for new cords to develop or reform. The enzyme injection is a great treatment option for patients who want to avoid surgery and have quick return to function.
Video and link credit: American Society for Surgery of the Hand