Dupuytren's contracture

Dupuytren's (du-pwe-TRANZ) contracture is a hand deformity that usually develops slowly, over years. Dupuytren's contracture affects a layer of tissue that lies under the skin of your palm. Knots of tissue form under the skin — eventually forming a thick cord that can pull one or more of your fingers into a bent position.

Once this occurs, the fingers affected by Dupuytren's contracture can't be straightened completely, which can complicate everyday activities such as placing your hands in your pockets, putting on gloves or shaking hands.

Dupuytren's contracture most commonly affects the ring finger and pinky, and occurs most often in older men of Northern European descent. A number of treatments are available to slow the progression of Dupuytren's contracture and relieve symptoms.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications

Dupuytren's contracture typically progresses slowly, over years. Occasionally it can develop over weeks or months. In some people it progresses steadily, and in others it may start and stop.

Dupuytren's contracture usually begins as a thickening of the skin on the palm of your hand. As Dupuytren's contracture progresses, the skin on the palm of your hand may appear puckered or dimpled. A firm lump of tissue may form on your palm. This lump may be sensitive to the touch but usually isn't painful.

In later stages of Dupuytren's contracture, cords of tissue form under the skin on your palm and may extend up to your fingers. As these cords tighten, your fingers may be pulled toward your palm, sometimes severely.

The ring finger and pinky are most commonly affected, though the middle finger also may be involved. Only rarely are the thumb and index finger affected. Dupuytren's contracture can occur in both hands, though one hand is usually affected more severely than the other.

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