Dupuytren Contracture and Similar Conditions
There are actually only a few different conditions that might be confused with Dupuytren contracture.
These are the primary hand conditions, other than Dupuytren contracture, that can prevent the finger from straightening out from a flexed position:
- Trigger finger – this is the sticking and sudden release of restricted flexor tendon in the sheath that also commonly as an associated aspect of Dupuytren’s contracture
- Ulnar nerve injury – results in a “claw hand deformity” of the entire, due to lack of extensor muscle function
- Extensor tendon rupture – often associated with direct trauma or arthritis
- Subluxation or slipping of extensor tendons between the knuckles associated with arthritis
- Ganglion cyst, or a soft-tissue mass – often presents as a small and movable nodule that is tender to palpation at the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint, and not as far back into the palm as Dupuytren usually is located; often seen in people younger than 50 years of age and without common risk factors for Dupuytren disease
- Post-traumatic or arthritic joint stiffness
- Sarcoma – biopsy will most likely reveal a benign etiology (e.g., lipoma, inclusion cyst).
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The major differentiation sign between these listed conditions and Dupuytren contracture is that none of them is associated with the appearance of nodule or cord development on the palmar surface of the hand. Based on this single point of differentiation the diagnosis of Dupuytren contracture is a fairly simple and straight forward matter. However the diagnosis can be made more complex when the person with Dupuytren contracture also has present at the same time one or more of these other conditions.
Making the differentiation between Dupuytren contracture and other hand problems easier, the following points should be kept in mind:
- Typically the person with Dupuytren disease is 50 years or older
- The likelihood of Dupuytren disease increases when a pitting or indentation is observed over the nodule(s) or alongside the cord(s)
- The likelihood of Dupuytren disease increases further when the nodule or cord formation is present bilaterally.
Early treatment of a Dupuytren contracture makes for a better outcome. Learn more about using Alternative Medicine for Dupuytren treatment on the DCI website.