What is wrong with my hand? Could it be Dupuytrens contracture?
My dog has been pulling the leash in my hand. I’ve also been getting swollen fingers/hands in the morning and joint pain but one day my dog pulled really hard. I developed bad pain along my middle finger and a lump in the palm next to the joint at the base of that finger. I could also see that there is redness over that lump. Gradually the acute pain in the finger nearly subsided even though I still could not straighten that finger. I then went to a hand surgeon. He x-rayed my hand and saw no joint swelling. He examined my hand and saw the inflamed lump but said nothing except it would take a few weeks to heal and if it didn’t to return for a steroid shot.The pain has returned and has spread to my wrist. I’m wondering if this is dupuytrens contracture. My brother has it and my father had it but it wasn’t painful for them. I was really upset that a hand surgeon did not give me a diagnosis. What could it be?
To begin with, there is no way I can offer you a direct answer to your question and tell you what is the problem causing your hand to be painful and swollen. However, I would be happy to speculate a bit with you and offer you a suggestion.
Since I will assume you love your dog, I will further assume that you are taking him for a walk twice a day and perhaps more. That is a lot of tugging and abuse to your hand and wrist. Your email makes it sound as though your hand surgeon thinks you have local trauma to the hand that has caused local inflammation and swelling of the tissue, like a tendonitis or palmar fasciitis. That makes sense.
Most of your complaints are only similar to Dupuytrens contracture and there are others that are clearly not related. Not all lumps in the palm mean the problem is DC; other things can give rise to a lump and bump in the palmar tissue. The greatest single factor that would suggest that your hand problem is Dupuytrens is the fact that two of your immediate family members have this problem. However, it appears that you were seen by a good doctor who took your problem seriously, and did not brush you off with a cursory office visit and little examination; it appears your complaints were examined well. If the person who saw you and your hand said you do not have Dupuytren’s contracture, that is probably correct.
At this time I am more concerned that you protect your hand from the further trauma of being pulled constantly while dog walking, or you will so aggravate your hand that you will develop Dupuytrens. It does happen, certainly not from specifically being pulled on a leash, but Dupuytrens can start after significant hand trauma in general. Since you have DC in your family history it is easier for you to develop this problem than if it was not in your family. You need to be proactive and stop abusing your hands in this way.
If your pup is abusing you to the extent that your hand tendons and other soft tissue are so inflamed that you have to go to a doctor, you need to correct your canine friend before your problem becomes as serious as DC –because it is possible for this progression to happen. Go to a few dog obedience classes together or get a professional to show you what you are doing wrong when your dog takes you for a walk!