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What Is Dupuytren’s Contracture?

Dupuytren’s contracture occurs when the tissue below the skin of the palm begins to thicken. If you suffer from this hand condition, you will most likely notice bumps, thick cords, and indentations in your palm. Dupuytren’s contracture can also cause the fingers to bend towards the palm, as well as affect the knuckles and bottoms of the feet.

Signs & Symptoms

Those living with Dupuytren’s contracture often have it in both hands, which may have slightly different symptoms. One of the first signs that people notice are lumps and bumps in the palm. As the condition becomes more advanced, patients lose the ability to place their hand flat on a table due to the fingers being pulled into the palms. Other signs of the condition can be seen below:

Every case of Dupuytren’s contracture varies and progresses at a different rate. Some people only experience small bumps and cords on their hands, which may never worsen. Others have severe curling of their fingers and find everyday activities to be difficult, like washing the hands, shaking hands with others, and putting on gloves.


Dupuytren’s disease is a genetic condition, but the exact cause for developing Dupuytren’s contracture is unknown. However, if you identify with one of the following, you may be have a higher risk of developing it in the future:

While there are different theories as to what actually leads to Dupuytren’s contracture, there is no definitive evidence of these claims. There is likely an interaction between your genetic history and environmental exposure such as trauma or surgery to the hands.


Treatment for Dupuytren’s contracture can range from simple observation to surgery, depending on how severe the case is. Since pain is rare, the main goal of treatment is to help the hand function like normal again. In mild cases, the disease may only need to be monitored, and it may not end up worsening. In more severe cases, treatment may include one of the following options to help straighten the fingers:

When you visit the Institute for Hand Surgery at New York Plastic Surgical Group, a Division of Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, one of our experienced surgeons will recommend the best solution for your condition, taking into account the stage of your Dupuytren’s contracture and the joints affected. We will develop a personalized treatment plan that best suits your individual goals. We will help you understand what to realistically expect, including possible risks associated with the treatment.

After your treatment, you may need to wear a splint and undergo hand therapy to maintain the improved function of your fingers. Unfortunately, even with treatment, Dupuytren’s contracture may come back. Should this happen, your reconstructive hand surgeon will create a new treatment plan to increase your chances of proper hand and finger function in the long run.

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