Helping our loved ones live with Dupuytren’s contracture disease
Dupuytren’s contracture disease is a type of fibroproliferative disorder. Characterized by bending of the fingers towards the palm, which cannot straighten their own. The condition is named after the French surgeon Barron Guillaume Dupuytren, who was the first one to describe it in the year 1834. It affects our elderly loved ones more than any other age group. This condition can affect, one or both the hands, and it affects the thumb the most.
Dupuytren’s contracture disease seems to be more common in elderly men than women.
Understanding Dupuytren’s contracture disease
Dupuytren’s contracture disease causes the connective tissues of the palm to thicken. In the initial stages, the thickening occurs in a small area, forming a small nodule. A nodule is basically a hard lump, that forms beneath the skin of the palm. Over time, the nodule fades away, and gradually more nodules form.
These nodules that form are basically benign, and non–cancerous in nature. They usually do not cause much of a problem for the elderly. However, these nodules can get bigger in size and gradually form cords of tissues. Gradually the cords shorten, causes a problem in extending the fingers of the hands. As the condition advances, the hand grip weakness, and make matters more difficult for our loved ones. With bend fingers, that cannot straighten out, our elderly face problems in carrying out their daily activities.
Risk factors for Dupuytren’s contracture disease
This affects our loved ones 60 years and above. Dupuytren’s contracture disease has many risk factors. Read on to know more.
Over the years, scientists and researchers have failed to figure out the actual cause of Dupuytren’s contracture disease. What exactly triggers the thickening of the connective tissues to form nodules. And why it affects the elderly the most, still remains a mystery with medical science. However, they have discovered more risk factors. These include the following:
Chronic degenerative disease such as diabetes
Medications were taken for conditions such as seizures
A family history of seizure
History of Dupuytren’s contracture disease that has occurred in the feet or penis
Symptoms of Dupuytren’s contracture disease
Having developed Dupuytren’s contracture disease. Your elderly will not be able to carry out their daily normal activities. The symptoms include:
They will not be able to lay their hands flat on the table surface.
The nodules will lose their tenderness, leaving behind thick bands of tissue on the palm.
They are not able to use their hands properly.
The ring finger is the common finger affected
Starts at the palm and moves towards the fingers
Treatment of Dupuytren’s contracture disease
Depending on your age and severity of the disease. The doctor would create a specialized treatment plan. The following are the treatment options that are available:
Steroid injections work the best when the lump that form is very painful. The steroid may not only provide relief from the pain. But would also stop the condition from getting worse. Also, a newer method of treatment, known as enzyme injections available. This is also helping elderly recover from the condition. A specialized team of surgeons has to administer the medication. In this method, the doctors first numb the hand, and inject enzymes directly onto the nodule. Over a period of several hours, the nodules break down. Which then gradually allow the fingers to straighten.
This therapy works best in the initial stages. Low-intensity x–rays are directly given to the nodule, causing it to soften.
This is yet another newer method to treat Dupuytren’s contracture disease. In this, they numb the hand, then, followed by a procedure to divide the nodule.
This is usually the last resort when the above-mentioned treatments do not work. An incision removes the thick tissue. This improves the hand’s mobility. Enabling our elderly to resume their normal activities all over again. Surgery has some success rates. however, there are many complications that can arise. Moreover, the symptoms do improve, but they tend to return within a short period of time. Some of the risks and complications that can arise after surgery, include:
Numbness in the hand
Stiffness in the fingers
Infection in the area around the finger
Joints can swell
Scarring on the palm
Blood flow to the hands can get impaired
This kind of therapy has the application of ultrasonic waves and heat to the affected area. In many cases, the doctor may also advise wearing a brace or splint to support the fingers. This will enable them to stretch. In addition, perform ROM exercises for improving the mobility of the palm and fingers.
Our hands do so much for us, and when they do not work it is no fun. Here are some tips, suggestions, and treatment options for the disease. There is no cure for this disease. Dupuytren’s contracture disease may reoccur even after treatment options. Also, check out this post on arthritis.
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