Community, Health

Is Your Finger Curling Down? What is Dupuytren’s Disease?

Q. Why is my finger curling down and why do I have like I have a cord like structure in my palm?

You may have something called Dupuytren’s disease. It sounds really scary, but its not. It happens for a variety of reasons.

What is it?

Well, for various reasons your genes can turn on and start creating a different type of connective tissue in your palm. It can happen due to manual labor, a fall, or just be a consequence of time.

What does it look like?

It can look like two separate things. It can be a nodule or bump in your palm, or it can look like a cord. Usually, it starts out looking like pitting in the skin. It may start towards your ring and small finger. The difference between a nodule and a cord is that the nodule is painful, and the cord isn’t. Also the cord will start to draw the finger down.

What can you do about it?

Actually, there’s no medication or therapy that you can do. The good news is that typically the process of developing these things is very slow. That also makes it a little dangerous because some people let them go too long.

When do I need to come in?

Well, a painful nodule usually shows up because it causes pain, and we all hate pain. The tricky one is the cord. Some get used to their finger drawing down. Next thing you know you can’t hardly put your hand in your pocket.

And gentlemen, we are the absolute worst about waiting too long. Here’s a little trick. If you can’t lay your hand completely flat on your dinner table then you should come in.

What would you do for it?

Unfortunately, this is one of those things that requires surgery. There are several techniques and depending on who you see it will depend on what they recommend.

The most important thing is to not wait too long!

Dr. Daniel M. Avery III is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in general orthopedics, hand surgery, sports medicine and upper extremity with OrthoSports Associates. He is a medical contributor to The North Jefferson Herald.