Dupuytren's contracture is a condition that affects the palmar fascia, the connective tissue that lies beneath the skin in the palm of the hand. The condition causes contractures, or tightening, of this tissue in the hand. Because of the contractures, the fingers can become permanently flexed and the function of the hand is impaired.
The palmar fascia is a thick tissue that lies above the tendons and below the skin of the hand. The fascia is attached both to the skin above and to structures below. Through these attachments the palmar fascia acts as an anchor to enhance the grip ability of the hand. In Dupuytren's, the fascia becomes diseased and thickened, which leads to the finger contractures.
There is no effective means by which the course of Dupuytren’s disease can be altered, so the early, nodular stages are usually a case of observation only. Patients are generally seen by a physician every few months to monitor the extent of the condition.
For more information on Dupuytren's Contracture, visit the Dupuytren Society Website.