Can clay sculpting aggravate Dupuytren?

Hi Dr Herazy!

A question: Can it make the DC worse if I work hard with clay making sculptures? Sometimes its like pin and needles in the hands. I enclose a picture of the things I do. These pieces are heavy, and also 50 cm high. Thanks ever so much for the answer.

Yours, Jane

Greetings again Jane,

Thank you for the picture.  What a strong, yet delicately dramatic piece.  Very intense and beautiful.  You are a gifted artist.

While there are aspects of your work that are beneficial to your arms and hands, you are probably doing more of those activities that could be detrimental to you.   As I imagine your frequent activities working with large clay pieces, you are likely overworking the flexor muscles of  your forearm and hands.   This could cause the extensor (opposite function) muscles of your forearms and hands to be relatively weak compared to those flexor muscles that are getting a greater daily workout.  this imbalance between the flexor and extensor muscles of the upper extremities might account for some of your symptoms.   I suggest that you deliberately spend at least a few minutes daily heavily exercising your forearm and hand extensor muscles.

Additionally, if you use any tools or equipment  in your art work that press into or vibrate the palm of your hand you could be aggravating your Dupuytren contracture.   If this is true, please wear padded gloves with extra  protection in the palms, or find different equipment that is designed to avoid this tendency to stress the palm tissues; such as  more rounded shaped handles.

Lastly, I suggest that you consider placing yourself on a good Dupuytren treatment program that will assist your body to recover to the best of your ability.  You have devoted a large part of your life to developing skills and talent to produce art, so you must continue fulfilling your work.  Supportive care for your hand tissue using Alternative Medicine can keep you at the kiln.

Good luck to you,


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