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Dupuytren's Contracture

This is a progressive disease of the hand that causes the fingers to close in, leaving the patient unable to straighten them. In Dupuytren’s, connective tissue in the palm of the hand becomes thickened from an overgrowth of collagen. This causes the tissue to tighten, forcing the fingers to flex in. The condition progresses slowly and usually without pain, but it can prevent a person from performing some tasks or skills.

The cause of Dupuytren’s is unknown, but evidence shows that it may run in families. People with diabetes, are of Northern European descent, or who use alcohol or tobacco have a higher risk of getting Dupuytren’s. Men develop Dupuytren’s more often than women, and most of these patients notice symptoms after age 50.  There is no cure, but there are effective treatments. Many patients have the full function of their hand restored.

Nonsurgical treatments include injections of corticosteroids or Xiaflex, a prescription drug that breaks down collagen. Surgical removal of excess tissue is necessary in some patients.

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