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Home > Health Topics > Topics beginning with P > Palmar Fasciitis - Dupuytren's Contracture > Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
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Palmar Fasciitis - Dupuytren's Contracture


Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Dupuytren's contracture is a thickening and tightening of the fibrous tissue beneath the skin on the palm of the hand. The contracture causes bending of the fourth and, frequently, the fifth fingers.

What is going on in the body?

Underlying the skin of the palm and fingers are strips of fibrous tissue, which are usually soft and pliable. In some people, this tissue becomes thickened and contracted, causing tight cords or nodules under the skin. The result is progressive bending of the finger, which cannot be straightened. The process starts usually at the crease on the palm of the hand, and progresses to involve the joint at the base of the finger, then the next joint of the same finger. The ring finger is most often affected, but the fifth finger is frequently involved. The condition may appear suddenly, but usually it is a slow, progressive process.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Dupuytren's contracture is common. The cause is unknown, but the condition has a genetic predisposition. It occurs most commonly in men over 45 years of age. The incidence is higher among people who are alcoholics, and people with diabetes, epilepsy, and pulmonary disease such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis. Recurrence after treatment is common.