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What is Dupuytren’s Disease?

Dupuytren’s disease is a benign condition that affects the connective tissue between the palm of the hand and the fingers. It typically starts as a small nodule (lump) and generally affects the ring or little finger, but may appear throughout the palm and sometimes on the thumb.

As the disease progresses the nodules may then grow, and cords develop along the tendons. These cords then thicken which can contract and bend the affected fingers towards the palm. This can stop the fingers from being able to straighten, and is called a ‘contracture’. The progression of a contracture can be more aggressive if there is a familial history of the condition.

Take a look at Dupuytren’s disease:

Dupuytren's disease radiotherapy

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Symptoms of Dupuytren’s Disease

People experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, should book an appointment to see Dr Shaffer;

  • Lumps in the palm of the hand.
  • Symptoms getting worse over the last six to twelve months.

Possible Causes of Dupuytren’s Disease

There is no single cause for Dupuytren’s disease, but some of the factors that make it more likely to develop are;

  • Smoking,
  • Diabetes,
  • Excess alcohol,
  • Liver disease,
  • Medication for epilepsy,
  • Manual labour (especially including vibration),
  • and injury to the hand.

Who does Dupuytren’s Disease affect?

Dupuytren’s disease is a fairly common condition. Most cases occur in middle-aged or older people, but it can sometimes develop in younger adults.

The disease does tend to be more common, more severe and progress more rapidly in men and about 1 in 6 men in the UK over the age of 65 have some degree of Dupuytren’s contracture.

It is most commonly found in people of European descent, with an average onset of around 49 years old for men and 54 years old for women.

In the United Kingdom, 3 – 5% of the population (approximately two million people) are suffering from Dupuytren’s disease.

There is some genetic influence, with many patients reporting that other people in the family have been affected.

Dupuytren’s Disease Treatment

The Dupuytren’s Practice treats Dupuytren’s Disease with Radiotherapy.

Radiotherapy is a simple, safe and painless treatment, which can soften tissue affected by early-stage Dupuytren’s Disease in order to treat the progression of the condition.*

*Please note that results may vary for different people.

Other Conditions we treat

Benign conditions that can be treated with radiotherapy include:

  • Ledderhose Disease – This is very similar to Dupuytren’s contracture but affects the feet. Generally, people get lumps but no contracture. However, as the disease progresses, these lumps can be tender and are often painful.
  • Plantar Fasciitis – This is a medical term for the thickening of the tough flexible band that runs under the sole of the foot. It often results in heel pain and grows gradually worse over time.

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