What is Dupuytren’s disease, and can it self-heal?
Dupuytren’s disease is a progressive genetic hand problem in which the connective tissue layer of the palm produces excess collagen and fibrin. This extra collagen causes an area of the palm near the base of one or more fingers to thicken and become less flexible. Typically, Dupuytren’s disease first appears on the surface as a small nodule or lump in the palm. It is often mistaken for a small blister or callus. At this early stage, the area can also form small wrinkles, dimples or pits.
Dupuytren’s contracture is the later or end stage when Dupuytren’s disease becomes a larger, more disruptive and invasive problem. During this contracture stage, the growing mass of collagen and fibrin develops a cord of dense tissue. The cord extends up and attaches to the finger closest to it. All the while, the finger cord is also thickening and contracting. This causes the cord to pull the finger down toward the palm. It can take many months or years for this slow and gradual process to occur. The contraction process can be continuous, or it can completely stall for months or years at a time. It can even stop, start and stop again a few times before it picks up speed.
Dupuytren’s disease self-heals – spontaneous recovery
The medical profession says there is no cure for Dupuytren’s disease. But that is not exactly true. When they say there is no cure they mean, “there is no prescription drug that cures Dupuytren, in the way that penicillin cures an infection.”
The truth is, there is a cure for Dupuytren. An undetermined percentage of people self-cure their Dupuytren without help from anyone. It happens naturally, like mending a broken bone. This is the way the body is supposed to work. Life is full of miracles, and self-healing is one of them.
The body can, and does, spontaneously repair Dupuytren disease like it heals so many other small and large health problems. Unfortunately, this does not happen every time, or in every situation.
Self-healing of Dupuytren’s disease
Sometimes the healing process needs some help to work better. For example, every good doctor will tell a patient with a broken bone to drink extra milk, take vitamin D, wear a cast, and avoid stressing the limb. These simple strategies help the body heal a broken bone better. The same for taking extra iron for anemia, and extra rest and vitamin C for a cold. DCI applies the same logic for designing Dupuytren’s disease treatment plans.
Based on the simple observation that some people self-heal their Dupuytren problem early, the Dupuytren’s Contracture Institute developed a natural treatment strategy to help people do a better job healing their Dupuytren disease.
As a result, people who closely follow the DCI treatment strategy early can do rather well. We hear from many people who use our large treatment plan. Of these, 8-10 people report moderate to marked reduction of their Dupuytren, for every one report of failure. We find that the larger the treatment plan, and the better a person follows DCI suggestions, the better the Dupuytren self-heals. For information about DCI treatment plans.
Keeping Dupuytren’s disease self-healing a secret
However, even though Dupuytren self-healing happens, medical writers never actually use the term “self-heal,” “self-correct;” or any term close to it. On top of that, the usual term medical writers use instead for self-healing of Dupuytren disease is to say it “goes away.”
For example, the NIH National Library of Medicine (MedlinePlus.gov) admits “Dupuytren’s nodules…occasionally even go away without treatment…” Exactly what does “go away” mean? They do not say. The world-famous Cleveland Clinic states, “…some people’s nodules go away on their own.” They never explain anything about how or why it would go away. WebMD.com tells readers that palm nodules, “…may go away on their own in a small number of patients…” The Dupuytren Research Group (Dupuytrens.org) says, “Some Dupuytren’s nodules go away without any treatment.”
Yes, the nodules go away on their own because the body can heal Dupuytren’s disease!
How often does Dupuytren’s disease go away on its own?
Even so, in these simple one-line statements about Dupuytren’s disease self-healing, something is missing. The reader has no idea how often the body is able to self-correct or naturally eliminate Dupuytren’s disease. In these four quotes – and all the others on the internet – the reader is not told if self-healing is fairly common or is it rare. Does Dupuytren spontaneous recovery happen once in a hundred cases, or once in a million?
It is almost as though medical writers do not want to admit the body can self-heal Dupuytren’s disease. Like they want to say as little as possible about Dupuytren disease self-healing. As a result, people believe they have only two treatment choices for their hand nodule: drugs and surgery.
Self-healing far more common than people told
For the most part, internet readers are not told how common or uncommon it is for the Dupuytren nodule to spontaneously self-heal.
However, in a 2005, a Journal of Hand Surgery (JHS) report and follow-up study appeared discussing the progression of Dupuytren nodules over a span of 6-15 years. It covered all the usual data of history, genetic tendency, physical findings and surgeries of 59 people in the middle and later stages of Dupuytren disease. This report is unique and important because it clearly states how many times Dupuytren disease self-repair happened within this group of 59 people. This is the only time DCI has found an author who placed a number on the frequency of Dupuytren’s self-healing.
Near the bottom of the report, the author states that 12% of the 59 people (seven people) had spontaneous remission or self-0helaing of Dupuytren palm lumps. Even though these 59 people had Dupuytren’s disease that was bad enough that they saw a specialist about their hands, for 12% of them, the Dupuytren’s nodule resolved by self-repair or spontaneous healing.
Is 12% a small or large number?
Perhaps the 12% self-correction is not an impressive number to some readers. Some might even think 12% is a small number of people. Actually, that 12% number is huge. With this number we gain important insight into the course and behavior of Dupuytren disease.
This number represents the Dupuytren disease cases that were bad enough to be in a doctor’s office for evaluation and treatment, yet somehow self-healed. If cases of DD that are bad enough to be seen by a doctor can clear up without help, what about minor and early cases of DD? When DD is not much more than a curious little bump, can it also clear up by self-healing? Of course! And probably at a much higher percentage than just 12%. When the palm lumps are smaller, softer and less well developed, would be a much better time and opportunity for this kind of self-repair to occur.
The average percentage of Dupuytren disease that self-heals is not knowable. There is no good way to collect this kind of information. No one goes to a hand specialist to report a small palm lump that is gone. Who would spend the time and money to see a doctor to report a tiny problem that healed itself and is not there? For this reason, the number of early Dupuytren’s disease hands that self-correct can only be estimated. Perhaps, 25-50%? Anyone’s guess.
Regardless, it is important to know that Dupuytren disease self-cures happen. Everyone with a Dupuytren’s nodule has some potential to heal it, especially in the early stages, and probably less so in the later stages.
We have seen that 12% of 59 people self-healed their Dupuytren’s disease during the middle and later stages. This happened without the benefit of any nutritional, physical therapy, stretching or enzyme treatment. It happened spontaneously. It seems reasonable to assume that if these same 59 people received adequate nutritional, physical therapy, stretching and enzyme treatment assistance during the middle and later stages of Dupuytren’s disease, the percentage of people who self-healed would have been larger.
Further, it seems reasonable that if 12% self-healed in the middle and later stages of DD, an even larger percent self-healed in the early stage. This would likely happen because in the early stage of Dupuytren disease the connective tissue mass in the palm is softer, smaller and less infiltrated with excess collagen and fibrin. As an example, it is reasonable to assume that a greater percentage of people self-heal their minor cold or sniffles while the problem is smaller, than when it gets worse and becomes pneumonia.
Lastly, DCI treatment verifies that people self-heal Dupuytren disease. When people use the large DCI treatment plan, good things can happen. DCI receives 8-10 reports of moderate to marked improvement, even elimination, of the palm lump, for every one report of failure.