Dupuytrens contracture is a relatively common finger disorder. It is more common in men and those over the age of 40.
What is Dupuytren’s Contracture?
Dupuytren’s contracture is a disorder of the fingers most commonly affecting the little or ring finger, sometimes both and usually in both hands.
What causes Dupuytren’s Contracture?
The exact cause of Dupuytren’s contracture is unknown. Genetics has been shown to be the most common factor as up to 70% of people that develop Dupuytren’s contracture have a history of the condition within the family.
What are the symptoms of Dupuytren’s Contracture?
Normally we are able to control when we bend our fingers and by how much. This hand control is lost with Dupuytren’s contracture and more so as the condition progresses and the palmar fascia tightens.
Small nodules which are thickening of connective tissue on the palm side of your hand make it hard to straighten your finger and it may be tender to touch.
As the condition progresses, your fingers may be pulled into a permanently bent position, making even simple activities difficult to do such as dressing, cooking or swimming.
How is Dupuytren’s Contracture diagnosed?
Your physiotherapist can carry out a full assessment of your wrist and hand and following this be able to diagnose Dupuytren’s contracture by assessing the fascia in the palm of your hand, if there are any nodules present and your range of movement.
You may be referred to a specialist to track the progress of the condition and may require surgery if it starts to significantly debilitate you.
What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for Dupuytren’s Contracture?
Dupuytren’s contracture can be managed both conservatively and surgically depending on the severity of the contracture. Physiotherapy is an effective treatment for both types of management as in the conservative stages can help preserve movement and slow the contracture.
Following an assessment, your physiotherapist will create a treatment plan for you based around their findings. There are many different treatment options for Dupuytren’s contracture youre your physiotherapist will choose the most beneficial methods of treatment based on your symptoms and response to different treatments.
Treatment may include:
- Joint mobilisation
- Passive range of movement exercises
- Active range of movement exercises
- Active-assisted range of movement exercises
- Soft tissue massage to relieve any pain and stiffness
Benefit of physiotherapy for Dupuytren’s Contracture?
There are several benefits of physiotherapy for Dupuytren’s contracture with the aim being to reduce your symptoms and have your hand function as best as possible in the shortest space of time. The particular benefits you feel from physiotherapy will depend on your original symptoms and treatment goals.
Some of the benefits of physiotherapy include:
- Reduced pain
- Reduced stiffness
- Improved dexterity and co-ordination
- Improved grip strength
- Improved function
- Reduced scarring
- Decreased risk of permanent contracture