There is a common, but not widely known condition of the hand called Dupuytren’s contracture which can cause problems with straightening the fingers as well as lumps in the palm. The disease is commonly known as “viking’s disease” because it occurs more in people whose ancestors come from northern Europe. It is more common in men, but can occur in women too; it can also be seen in the soles of the feet.

In the past, Dupuytren’s disease was almost always treated with surgery. In response to patients’ desire for other types of treatment, two new treatments have been developed that can be done in an office setting. One involves an enzyme injection, followed by manipulation of the fingers. The other is called a needle aponeurotomy (NA) and involves making multiple punctures of the diseased cords with a small needle and then straightening the fingers. The recovery time for both procedures is minimal and the early results are promising. In my practice, the NA procedure has added a lot to the care of my patients with Dupuytren’s contracture. I learned the technique from Dr. Charles Eaton, a very skilled physician in Florida.

I am hopeful that there will eventually be a medical treatment for this condition, but until then, the new techniques have really changed the treatment of this disease and are decreasing the indications for surgery.

For more information visit OrthoInfo.org.

Resurgens Orthopaedics
Atlanta, Georgia

14 comments

  1. Cyrus

    There are other approved treatments for DC in the N or N1 stage. This treatment is more widely used in Europe. It’s radiation therapy.

    • Philip Peterson

      I had both the needle aponeurotomy and the radiation.

      Seems to have stopped it from getting worse for past seven years or so…

      • Cary P

        I have had DC for roughly 6 or 7 years. I have had 3 surgeries. my 1st was simple. Ring finger on the left hand. Perfect results and no recurrence. Since I have had surgery on both pinky’s and the webbing between the thumb and index fingers. Both pinky’s did not straighten out. Very frustrating. I have new lumps appearing and am willing to try other approaches before going under the knife for more scar tissue. Would love to hear how your NA and radiation worked or if there are any other new treatments being tested.

  2. Paul Furneaux

    Interesting article as I have just gone through amputation of my little finger on my left hand as the disease was to far gone to save it however the surgeon we’re able too save it from rest of hand. I know others and will let them know of your article. Warm regards.

    • Stephen John Davies

      Hi my little finger is bent 45 degrees and getting in the way if it’s go,na be that much hassle will chop it off myself?

  3. Anita McDaniel Bruecl

    When should I seek treatment. I have a not in my palm that was first noticed January 2016. It has quadrupled in size in six months. Mobility is unaffected, but by the end of the day, I’m aware of very minor discomfort. Is there an advantage to earlier intervention?

    • Trish Lehman

      Anita, yes, there is an advantage to having treatment sooner than later with radiation treatments. Google radiation treatments for Dupuytren’s Disease and see if there is anyone near you doing this. I live in the Northwest US and there is a radiation oncologist at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, WA who does it. I start my treatments next week. Good Luck!

    • Thomas

      I had multiply surgery done to one hand. It is VERY important to have whatever “work” done early, as the recovery will of course be quicker.

  4. James O

    I am interested in more information as I have it in both hands and feet.

    • Philip Peterson

      The feet is probably ledderhose disease.

      I’ve got ’em both too, but the foot one doesn’t bother me.

  5. Nolly

    My husband was diagnosed with this yesterday and not knowing what it was, waited too long and he now requires surgery.

  6. Monique

    I have dupuytrens , my hand has a burning sensation and is colder then the other. I have been to 5 Doctors and NO ONE seems to be able to help me. I want my hand back any suggestions would be a great HELP ! Please

  7. Rachel

    I have read articles which state that only 1%-5% of the population has DD. This article states it is “common.” What are the worldwide and American statistics?

  8. Robert Hurley

    I was diagnosed with DD when I went back to my hand doctor 6 months after having Carpel Tunnel and middle trigger finger. Normal check up, except fonger and ring were still swollen and I had nodes starting. Bring adopted, I had no history and my doctor thinks the surgery activated it. My right hand is fine for DD, but I need carpel tunnel surgery and now my left DD hand has another trigger finger just developing. Dr. Does not recommend any more surgery on either hand. I still have a table top hand. But can see the cords starting. . . Being a pianist I am not having any problems yet do to the DD but the trigger finger is killing me. Thoughts about all of this. My Dr felt terrible having to tell me. Said she would not have done any surgery if we had know. At 67, I am ordering 23 and me to see what else might be lurking!

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