Bent Finger

Why do I have a bent finger that won’t straighten?  

Bent finger of Dupuytren contracture of left hand, showing cord and advanced flexion of ring finger. Bent fingers cause difficulty doing common tasks. Based on the single finding of a bent finger that won’t straighten, no confident answer is possible. However, the most frequent and most likely reason for a stuck bent finger is Dupuytren contracture.  Other, less likely, possibilities are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, trigger finger (tenosynovitis) and diabetes. It might be important to see your doctor to investigate these other possibilities if there are good reasons to do so.     

Eliminate a bent finger with safe natural treatment

Great news!  Surgery is not always necessary to straighten a bent finger that comes with Dupuytren’s contracture.  Since 2002 the Dupuytren Contracture Institute has helped people who struggle with one or more bent fingers relates to DC.  People who closely follow the DCI treatment strategy early can do rather well. Even those who can’t straight finger at all. We hear from 8-10 people who use our large treatment plan reporting they see moderate to marked reduction of their signs and symptoms of Dupuytren, for every one report of failure.

We find that the larger the treatment plan, and the closer a person follows DCI treatment suggestions, the better the Dupuytren self-heals. For information about DCI treatment plans.

Regardless, it is important for people with Dupuytren to understand that self-repair and self-healing happen every day. People heal an unknown percent of early Dupuytren disease, and even reduce later, larger palm nodules and cords of Dupuytren’s contracture.

Our position has always been that while hand surgery is always an option, it makes sense to first attempt non-surgical treatment and therefore possibly avoid the inherent risks of surgery.

How to use natural therapy for Dupuytren’s disease?
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Let’s explore this problem through a few questions commonly asked by people who want to know more about their bent finger.

How do I know it is Dupuytren that is causing my bent finger

As discussed in the first paragraph, there are many reasons to explain why a bent finger won’t straighten. Even so, the reader can be fairly confident a stuck bent finger is due to Dupuytren contracture when several of these risk factors are present:

  • Age 50+
  • Family descended from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, or a Scandinavian country
  • One or more family members have Dupuytren contracture
  • Musician
  • Diabetic
  • History of recent injury or surgery to upper extremities
  • History of alcohol abuse or liver disease
  • History of diabetes
  • History of heavy manual labor

Dupuytren’s disease and trigger finger

Let’s also consider in a little more detail another reason why a finger stays bent:  trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis).

Trigger finger happens when the tendon that controls a finger can’t glide smoothly in the sheath that surrounds it.   Two situations can cause this to happen.  One, a swollen tendon in the palm gets stuck on a narrowed part of the tendon sheath that surrounds that tendon.  Two, when the sheath becomes narrowed for some reason, like pressure caused by an abnormal DC palm lump that should not be in the palm.  Any finger can display a trigger finger that suddenly locks up while in a bent position and just as suddenly releases the hold – like pulling a trigger and it suddenly snaps free. Trigger finger can be occasional or frequent, mild or severe, locked in a bent position for a short or prolonged time, and mildly or severely painful.

It is rather common for trigger finger to develop in one or more fingers that also have Dupuytren’s contracture going on.  To say it another way, trigger finger is a common complication and can occur at the same time as Dupuytren’s contracture. This happens because of tissue irritation caused by the expanding palm lump and finger cord. Of course, this leads to inflammation and swelling (narrowing) of the tendon sheath.

There are a few important differences between trigger finger and Dupuytren contracture. Trigger finger has a very sudden onset.  Plus, it has a popping sound with the sudden release of the swollen tendon within the sheath covering it. In these cases, a trigger finger is normal between episodes. However, the stuck finger of Dupuytren contracture has a very slow onset. Likewise, there is no popping sound because there is no tendon release.  Lastly, the locked finger of Dupuytren contracture is constant.

>> Natural Dupuytren Contracture Treatment – FAQs

Are Dupuytren nodules or cords a type of tumor of the hand?

No, Dupuytren’s contracture is not a cancerous tumor.   However, certain serious hand cancers can also cause hand pain, reduced finger movement and swelling.  For example, giant cell tumor and epithelioid sarcoma. For this reason, if there is a history of cancer in your family, or something about your current problem make you suspect cancer, it is wise to have your doctor evaluate your hand complaints. The true cause of a constantly bent finger that can’t be straightened, cancer or not.

What keeps my finger bent all the time?

Short answer: the Dupuytren’s cords keep the fingers bent constantly, like they are tied down in a curled position.

Dupuytren contracture begins as a thickening of the deep tissue of the palm (palmar fascia).  This tissue is located below the skin and above the bones and tendons of the palm.  This thickened palm tissue slowly grows, and as it does it develops a cord of dense tissue that attaches to a finger.  Over time, this cord shortens or contracts, causing that finger to curl down toward the palm. This reduces movement of the involved fingers. At this stage, the finger stays bent.  Eventually, if more than one finger is involved, the hand takes on the appearance of a modified fist or claw.

Use natural therapy for Dupuytren’s disease?
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Why is my finger bent and why did it stop hurting?

People comment that when their Dupuytren contracture started up, they had a flexed finger and it was fairly painful. This resulted in great clumsiness. Slowly and gradually, this changed.  Soon the involved won’t straighten out completely, eventually constricting finger movement completely, and the pain stopped.

Is this the reason I have a bent finger without pain?

Pain is a fairly common complaint when Dupuytren contracture begins, often described as constant stinging or burning pain wherever there are lumps on the palm of the hand.  Over time, as each finger gets stuck in a constant bent position, pain becomes less frequent and less intense.

Generally, Dupuytren contracture is not a very painful condition.  Dupuytren’s contracture is known mostly for the bent fingers, inability to fully open the hand, as well as the palm lumps. When pain is a major issue with Dupuytren’s contracture it is because the growing and contracting collagen tissue is pressing on, or wrapping around, nerve tissue in the palm.