Dupuytren’s ContractureDr. Howard Liss treats disorders that cause pain and disability by providing consultative services and soft tissue and joint injections when needed. When medically appropriate, he makes specific referrals for diagnostic testing (lab work, imaging, electrodiagnosis), physical and occupational therapy, interventional procedures (epidurals and facet joint injections), and surgery.
Though not typically painful, Dupuytren’s contracture, also known as Dupuytren’s disease, describes the formation of scar tissue and thickening of the tissue beneath the skin on the palm of the hand. As the skin thickens and shortens, it may begin to pucker or dimple, while thick cord-like lines extend to the fingers (notably the ring finger and little finger), causing them to bend towards the palm of the hand.
While there is limited information on the causes of Dupuytren’s contracture, research suggests that it may be inherited. It occurs more often in those with diabetes mellitus, epilepsy and alcoholism. Even so, most notice it when they attempt to place their hand on a flat surface. For individuals with severely bent fingers, this simple activity may be impossible. In addition, it may be challenging to wash hands, wear gloves, shake hands, put hands in pockets or grasp objects.
Hand Therapy for Dupuytren’s Contracture
There are varying degrees of hand function in those with Dupuytren’s contracture, and some only require observation. Yet, others benefit greatly from hand therapy designed to straighten fingers and restore mobility.
Physiatrists are well equipped to coordinate a treatment plan for patients with Dupuytren’s contracture. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, physiatrists bridge multiple fields and systems to devise a protocol that maximizes function. Treatment is conservative and may include cortisone or collagen injections, heat, ultrasound, splinting and specific hand exercises to establish the position of the fingers and maintain their functioning.
Patients benefit from multifaceted therapy under the direction of a physiatrist. Pain management and function are a priority. Physiatrists and other medical professionals equip patients with knowledge and awareness of their condition so that they have the necessary tools to do their part in treatment.
At the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute, patients can rely on Dr. Liss to put together the right treatment, therapy and rehabilitation plan to ensure the most optimal outcome. Dr. Liss works closely with other specialists required to rehabilitate patients suffering from chronic pain or serious injuries, and Dr. Liss will refer patients as needed to ensure appropriate treatment. With extensive education and exposure to a variety of conditions that affect the cervical and lumbar spine, bones, nerves, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, brain, and spinal cord, Dr. Liss is uniquely positioned to help patients manage their pain and maximize their functioning.
If you are suffering loss of hand function due to Dupuytren’s contracture, contact the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute today.