What is wrong with my hands? You may have Dupuytrens contracture if you have these symptoms
Good news about Dupuytren contracture treatment and that hard lump on the palm of my hand
Surgery is not always needed to help Dupuytren’s contracture. Since 2002 the Dupuytren Contracture Institute has worked with people from around the world to use natural Alternative Medicine methods to treat their lumps on the palm of the hand. While surgery is always an option, most people prefer to first use non-surgical treatment to possibly avoid the inherent risks of surgery.
Click here to read about results of Alternative Medicine treatment of Dupuytrens contracture therapy
Why won’t my ring finger straighten out any more? Why do I have a bent little finger now?
Before this article presents answers to common questions about Dupuytren contracture the reader should consider that the troublesome nodule on the palm of the hand might be something else.
First, let’s consider the obvious so you do not worry for no reason. If you do heavy manual labor, or you have just started using your hands in some new way (a hobby like wood working, or hauling trash out of the basement for a few days), that small palm lump could be a callus. If so, this is nothing abnormal and it is there to protect your hands.
If you cannot account for the appearance of new lumps on the palms of the hands, then it could be a rather common condition called Dupuytren’s contracture. Let’s explore this problem through a series of questions commonly asked by people who want to know more about the hand lump they discover.
What is Dupuytren’s contracture?
Dupuytren’s contracture is a condition that affects the deep connective tissue found below the skin and above the bones and tendons of the hand, causing contractures or areas of tightening that appear as lumps on the palm of the hand. The worse thing about a hand contracture is that the involved fingers won’t straighten out and the finger gets stuck permanently bent toward the palm. One or more fingers can be affected, but it is usually the ring finger won’t extend or the pinky finger won’t extend – or both of these fingers can’t open normally.
No one really knows what causes Dupuytren’s contracture, but it does run in families. Seven out of 10 people who are diagnosed with Dupuytren contracture have a family history of the condition. It more commonly appears in people over 40 years of age, men more commonly than women by a 7:3 ratio, and those with a North European ancestry (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland) and all the Scandinavian countries. Other factors seem to contribute to developing this problem, but without any clear relationship:
- Liver disease
Is this some kind of tumor in or on my hand?
No, Dupuytren’s contracture is not a cancerous tumor. However, there are certain hand conditions that might be confused for Dupuytren’s contracture that are cancers (giant cell tumor or epitheliod sarcoma). For this reason it is a smart thing to always get a medical opinion if you can’t open your hand without pain or you notice a lump in the palm of the hand, since it might not be Dupuytren contracture.
What are these nodules in my hand?
Thickened and dimpled lumps on the palm are usually Dupuytren’s contracture. This is most likely to be the cause of any unusual small lump on the hand when it occurs on the palm at the base of the ring or pinky fingers, especially when the involved finger won’t straighten out. It is possible to have a fairly good idea if several of these apply to your situation:
- One or more family members have Dupuytren contracture
- Family descended from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, or Scandinavian country
- Palm lump at the base of the pinky and/or ring finger
- Age 45 plus
- Alcohol abuse or liver disease
- Treated for epilepsy
Why is it my finger won’t straighten out?
When Dupuytrens disease starts out there is a thickening of the deep tissue of the palm, located below the skin and above the tendons and bones of the hand. As this thickening progresses the involved tissue also shortens, reducing movement to the point the fingers are constricted. Sometimes during the early stage as the lumps on the palm develop it is not possible to completely open the hand without pain, as when trying to flatten the hand on a tabletop.
Why do I have stinging and burning pain in my hand?
When the finger won’t straighten out completely, but is forced to do so, the shortened deep hand tissue when stretched is painful to move.
What is the reason my fingers are constricting?
The fingers won’t straighten out completely because the thickened and shortened cords and nodules in the palm prevent full movement. The restricted finger movement is caused by the palm nodules that eventually develop into cords that extend from the palm lump to the fingers. When this happens the ring finger or pinky finger won’t extend completely.
Is this why my pinky finger and ring finger won’t extend open?
Yes, those with Dupuytren contracture often comment when the problem starts that they can’t open the hand without pain and great difficulty. Gradually over time the involved finger won’t straighten out completely, sometimes eventually constricting finger movement to the degree the fingertip touches the palm of the hand.
Could I have a swollen tendon in the hand?
Dupuytren contracture does not affect the tendons of the hand directly. To say it another way, the tendons are not directly affected by Dupuytrens because the condition does not go down that deep into the palm of the hand. The soft tissue (palmar fascia) of the hand that is affected is directly above the tendons and bones.
A swollen hand tendon is called flexor tendinitis (trigger finger), and may be caused by repetitive or strenuous activity especially when it is greater than the hand is accustomed to doing.
Is this some kind of tumor in or on my hand?
Dupuytren contracture is not a tumor, although tumors of the hand do occur. Because a fibroma, sarcoma and giant cell tumor of the hand are possible, it is always advisable to have your hand examined to receive a medical diagnosis.
Is that why I can’t open my hand without pain?
Pain is most common at the start of Dupuytren contracture, sometimes described as a constant stinging and burning pain near the hand lump. As the finger gets stuck in a permanently bent position usually less pain is felt. When the hand is forced open the painful lump in the palm indicates that constricted tissue is being stretched beyond its limit.
Sometimes there is a constant stinging and burning pain in the hand near the lump in the palm, or the complaint is not being able to open hand without pain.