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What is Dupuytren’s Syndrome?

Dupuytren’s syndrome is a progressive condition that affects the fascia, the connective tissue beneath the skin of the palm. As the disease progresses, this tissue thickens and forms knots, which eventually create a thick cord that can pull one or more fingers into a bent position. The ring and little fingers are most commonly affected, making it difficult to fully straighten the hand.

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of Dupuytren’s syndrome is not well understood, but several factors can increase the risk of developing the condition:

  • Genetics: A family history of Dupuytren’s syndrome significantly increases the risk, suggesting a genetic predisposition.
  • Age: The condition typically affects people over the age of 40.
  • Gender: Men are more likely to develop Dupuytren’s syndrome than women.
  • Ancestry: It is more common in people of Northern European descent.
  • Lifestyle Factors: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption have been associated with an increased risk of Dupuytren’s syndrome.
  • Medical Conditions: Conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy are also linked to a higher incidence of Dupuytren’s syndrome.


Symptoms of Dupuytren’s syndrome typically develop slowly and may include:

  • Small lumps or nodules in the palm, which may be tender initially but usually become painless
  • Thickened tissue cords that form under the skin of the palm and extend to the fingers
  • The fingers, particularly the ring and little fingers, are pulled into a bent position and cannot be fully straightened
  • Reduced ability to perform tasks that require finger extension or gripping

Diagnostic Process

Diagnosing Dupuytren’s syndrome involves a thorough evaluation by a healthcare provider, which typically includes:

  • Medical History: Discussing your symptoms, family history, and any related medical conditions with your doctor.
  • Physical Examination: Assessing the hand for nodules, cords, and the degree of finger contracture. The doctor may ask you to try placing your hand flat on a table, which can highlight the extent of the contracture.
  • Functional Tests: Evaluating the impact of the condition on hand function and daily activities.

Treatment Options

Conservative Care

In the early stages of Dupuytren’s syndrome, non-surgical treatments may help manage symptoms and slow progression:

  • Observation: Monitoring the condition over time to assess its progression.
  • Steroid Injections: Injecting corticosteroids into the nodules can help reduce inflammation and slow disease progression.
  • Enzyme Injections: Collagenase injections can help break down the cords of tissue, allowing the fingers to straighten.
  • Physical Therapy: Hand therapy exercises to maintain flexibility and strength.

Surgical Treatment

When the condition significantly impairs hand function or progresses despite non-surgical treatments, Dupuytren’s release surgery may be recommended. This procedure involves making an incision in the palm and removing or releasing the thickened tissue to allow the fingers to straighten. The goal of Dupuytren’s release is to improve hand function and reduce contracture, enabling patients to perform daily activities more easily.

At Excel Health, we prioritize minimally invasive techniques to ensure the best outcomes and fastest recovery times for our patients.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Recovery from Dupuytren’s release surgery involves a period of rest, followed by a structured rehabilitation program. Post-surgery, the hand is usually bandaged and may be splinted to keep the fingers in an extended position. Physical therapy is crucial to restore strength, flexibility, and function to the hand. Regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider are essential to monitor healing and prevent complications.

Managing Dupuytren’s Syndrome

Living with Dupuytren’s syndrome requires a proactive approach to treatment and lifestyle modifications. Regular hand exercises, avoiding activities that strain the hands, and making ergonomic adjustments can help manage symptoms. Ongoing monitoring and early intervention are key to maintaining hand function and preventing severe contractures.

If you suspect you have Dupuytren’s syndrome or are experiencing symptoms, contact Excel Health for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan. Our dedicated team is committed to providing the highest quality care to help you regain hand function and improve your quality of life.

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