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Dupuytren's contracture

By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Dupuytren's contracture is a hereditary progressive disease in the hand, wherein the fingers are bent more and more. In the earlier stages, the disease can be treated with injections of the hand and in the late stages of an operation.

Dupuytren's contracture is a progressive process where the palm formed strings that bend one or more of the fingers. The fingers are finally completely bent and can not be straightened out - it is called a contracture.

Dupuytren’s contracture occurs far more frequent in men and most often in men over 50 years. The cause is unknown, but the genetics play a role.

The disease starts with the formation of one or more hard nodules in the palm. From node (s) formed strings out of your fingers. Gradually shrinking strings and fingers bend towards the palm. When the fingers can not be straightened out, problems arise to wash your face, comb her hair, shake hands and eat. In most cases, both hands are attacked.

In some cases "the disease burn out" while it continues in others.

In the early stages of the disease, the disease can be slowed down by spraying different types of medicine into the strands and nodes. In the late stages, the only treatment option is an operation. You choose surgery when the hand function is so impaired that they are essential in everyday life - including work function. By surgery you remove the strings and knots that hinder the tendons to function normally. The surgery does not cure the disease, but most get a clear improvement in hand function and can return to their work.


Treatment with different kinds of medicines are injected into the strands and nodes have been shown to slow the disease.

What can you do?

You can not do anything to prevent the development of Dupuytren's contracture.

What can your doctor do?

As long as your fingers not are locked and hand function in daily life, there is no need for treatment. It may take many years from the first node occurs until the fingers lock. If one or more fingers are locked your doctor may refer you to a specialist.

What can a specialist doctor do?

The specialist can spray medicine into the hand and slow down the disease development. If that does not work the specialist can remove the tissue that holds the fingers bent surgically. The vast majority achieves a good function of the hand and can continue in their work.