The Importance of Hands and Feet

Dupuytren's Hands

Image courtesy of Precious Little One 

Working as a doctor, enjoying playing the piano, and being on my feet all day on the weekends with my kids, I know how important peoples’ hands and feet are to everyday life.

They are, to many people, a symbol of our ability to work, do things we enjoy, and contribute usefully within our families and towards wider society. When their function is threatened, this can have a profound emotional impact, including the fear of losing function, and fear of needing surgery, particularly when a relative has had this disease in the past.

I have witnessed many times the relief that people have when they know that there is something that can be done to treat Dupuytren’s disease, Ledderhose disease and Plantar Fasciitis.


For early Dupuytren’s disease, the aim of the treatment is to stop the disease on the hands worsening and to prevent the need for surgery. For Ledderhose disease, the idea is to shrink the lumps and stop them causing so much pain. For plantar fasciitis, the aim is to relieve the pain in the feet in people who have tried the normal treatments (stretching, resting, orthotics etc.).

Memorable patients include a pianist who was concerned about retaining full flexibility and accurate control of his fingers. I recently saw a woman for whom running is central to her life, and feels very threatened by the prospect of the lumps on her soles causing her pain and interfering with her running.

I have also found radiotherapy helpful for patients who have tried all sorts of treatments for plantar fasciitis who are desperate to get rid of the pain in their heels that stops them doing so many things.

It is surprising to me that radiotherapy for treating these conditions is not more widely known about and available. For this reason, I am currently aiming to more widely inform the public and healthcare professionals about this treatment option for people who have pain or lumps in their feet, or lumps in their palms.