Dupuytren’s disease, or Dupuytren’s contracture, is a condition in which hands become deformed through the contracting and thickening of tissue beneath the palm, explains Mayo Clinic and WebMD. The tissue develops knots and produces a thick chord. As a result, fingers may bend without being able to straighten out, and simple daily tasks such as shaking hands may become complicated. The condition mostly affects older men with Northern European ancestry. Treatment is available for symptom relief and to lessen development.
Dupuytren's disease usually begins with a lump or two appearing below the skin near the base of the ring finger or pinkie, notes WebMD. Sometimes it can affect the middle finger as well, notes Mayo Clinic. Gradually, as the skin of the palm thickens, it can look dimpled or puckered. The lumps are rarely painful but may experience sensitivity. Eventually, the knots turn into chords that may pull the fingers toward the palm.
While doctors do not know the causes of Dupuytren’s disease, they believe certain things may predispose a person toward it, such as age, gender, ethnicity and hereditary factors, alcohol and tobacco use and diabetes. In general, Dupuytren’s contracture shows up in men older than 50 whose families have a history of the disease. Furthermore, drinking alcohol and smoking, and having diabetes, are all associated risks, according to Mayo Clinic.