Dupuytren's contracture is a progressive hand condition that affects how much you can move or straighten your fingers. It is caused by an abnormal buildup of a substance called collagen. In people with Dupuytren's contracture the collagen builds up and over time can thicken into a rope-like cord in your palm1. These changes become more noticeable if fingers begin to bend toward the palm, so you cannot straighten them. It most commonly affects the MP Joint (where the finger meets the palm) and PIP Joint (the knuckle) in the ring finger and the little finger. Contracture may also occur in the other fingers and joints but this is less common.
The cause is unknown. Family history of Dupuytren's contracture makes you more likely to develop this condition. It does not seem to be caused by occupation or from trauma. The condition is more common after age 40. Men are affected more often than women. Risk factors are alcoholism, diabetes, and smoking2.
Dupuytren's contracture can sometimes be mistaken for other conditions such as arthritis or trigger finger as there is some overlap in the symptoms of the different conditions which make it difficult to distinguish one from the other.
Different people experience Dupuytren's contracture in different ways and the condition may continue to worsen over time. Although there is no cure, there is treatment available for people with Dupuytren's contracture.
If you think that you may have Dupuytren's contracture, talk to your healthcare professional.