What is Dupuytren's Contracture?
Dupuytren’s contracture is a hand condition that affects the fascia, which are thin layers of connective tissue that support the structure of the hand. Dupuytren’s contracture occurs when the fascia in the palm of the hand thickens and tightens, forming tough cords that can passively bend a finger.
Over time, the affected fingers progressively become more bent and difficult to straighten, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as grasping objects. The condition most commonly affects the range of motion in the ring and little fingers.
Dupuytren’s contracture is more common in people over the age of 50.
Men are 3 to 6 times more likely to develop Dupuytren’s contracture compared to women.
Individuals who have immediate family with the condition are more likely to develop it themselves.
4. Lifestyle Factors
Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of Dupuytren’s contracture because it can decrease circulation and blood flow to the hands.
Manual labour jobs that involve excessive gripping and/or use of power tools (due to vibration) can damage blood vessels in the hand which increases the risk for Dupuytren’s contracture.
How does physiotherapy Treat Frozen Shoulder
Improve Hand Function
During the assessment, your therapist will determine the severity of your Dupuytren’s contracture and create a treatment plan to improve your hand function. Your therapist will provide treatments, prescribe exercises, and educate you on how to improve your range of motion.
1. Manual Therapy
Myofascial release: to alleviate pain, stiffness, and inflammation of the muscles, joints, nerves, and fascia in the hand and fingers.
Joint mobilization: to promote smooth joint movement and mobility of the each joint in the hand.
Stretching: to reduce muscle and fascial tension and improve overall mobility of the hand and fingers.
2. Exercise Therapy
Stretching: to prevent stiffening of muscles and fascia around the hand and fingers.
Range of motion: to maintain and improve joint mobility of the hand and fingers.
Strengthening: to improve the strength and stability of the hand and fingers.
Home exercise program: individualized exercise prescription.
Acupuncture: use of thin needles to improve local and systemic function, regulate the nervous system, and promote the body’s natural healing processes.
Heat and cold therapy: to manage reduce pain and tension or control inflammation.
Electrostimulation: use of electrical currents to stimulate muscles and reduce pain.
Ultrasound: use of high-frequency sound waves to produce deep tissue heating to reduce muscle tension and inflammation.
Laser therapy: to improve blood flow, reduce pain and inflammation, and promote tissue healing.
Advice on bracing, splinting, activity modification, and self-management strategies to improve range of motion and restore hand function.