If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve ever experienced pain in your hand or fingers and written it off as no big deal, you may want to get a second opinion. You could haveÃ‚Â DupuytrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Syndrome, a hand condition that decreases mobility. The conditionÃ‚Â gained public attention when Chelsea Handler mentioned having it on her talk-showÃ‚Â Chelsea Lately.
How does one get DupuytrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Syndrome? Over time, collagen builds up and thickens into a rope-like cord in the palm. This causes the fingers to be drawn in or can result in dimpling of the skin, says Sidney M. Jacoby, MD, Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery at Phoenixville Hospital in Pennsylvania.
So could you have DupuytrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢sÃ¢â‚¬”or get it one day? The disease has a clear genetic link, says Jacoby, but there is also an increased incidence in smokers and alcoholics. While DupuytrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s is frequently mistaken for other conditions, like arthritis or trigger finger, a few signs serve as red flags:
Your fingers tend to curl toward your palm The rope-like cord, pits, and nodules that form in the hands as a result of Dupuytren's can cause a progressive contracture of the fingers, making it look like youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re always cupping something.
You can no longer straighten your fingers This contracture of the fingers ultimately results in a diminished range of motion, making it challenging to shake hands with someone or place your hands flat on a table, among other things.
You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do simple motor tasks anymore Having trouble twirling a pencil or turning a coin from heads to tails with just one hand? As the fingers of someone with DupuytrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s become increasingly drawn in toward the palm, tasks like these become harder to do. If you have difficulty picking up objectsÃ¢â‚¬”like a fork or penÃ¢â‚¬”that can also be a sign of the condition.
Although there is no cure for DupuytrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, treatment can make the condition easier to live with. In mild cases where hand function isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t greatly affected, observation by your MD is typically all thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s necessary. In more severe cases, your doctor may suggest surgery to remove the diseased tissue or rupture the rope-like cord in the palm. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to go under the knife? Another option is a procedure called needling. Despite its name, it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t require an incision, but instead uses a needle to puncture and remove the tissue causing the finger to contract. Enzyme injections are another scalpel-free solution; the procedure is performed by injecting a solution into the cord to soften and weaken it, allowing a doctor to then attempt to break the cord and straighten the fingers.
photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock More from Women's Health:
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