In dupuytren’s contracture, the fibrous tissue in the palm of the hand becomes thickened and shortened, leading to deformity.
One or more of the fingers, usually the ring and small fingers, are pulled towards the palm into a bent posture and, occasionally, painful lumps grow on the palm and the overlying skin becomes puckered. In about half of all instances, both hands are involved. Infrequently, the illness impacts the soles of the feet. Dupuytren’s contracture is considerably more common in men over age 50; alcohol abuse is a risk factor.
The illness may run in families. The tissue changes in Dupuytren’s contracture grow slowly over months or years. The cause is unknown, but it happens more generally in individuals with diabetes mellitus or epilepsy, and in individuals who drink to excess. About 1 in 10 individuals with Dupuytren’s contracture has a relative with the illness, so there may be a gene on the job.