Diagnosis and Treatment of Dupuytren’s Contracture and Viking Disease

Dupuytren’s contracture is a disorder that impairs hands and fingers. This condition can leave the sufferer unable to straighten their fingers. In Dupuytren’s contracture Viking hand, fingers become hardened in the twisted position. The layer of tissues under the skin of the palm develops small and hard nodules, which progressively thicken. Finally, it leads to cords of thickened tissues extending to the fingers, which can cause them to bend towards the palm. Gradually, it becomes more challenging to straighten them. 

However, the condition is not that painful, but it makes day-to-day life more challenging. Simple activities like putting your hands on the table, gripping an object, putting on gloves, washing your face can be hard to do. 

What are the causes of Dupuytren’s contracture?

The exact reason behind Dupuytren’s contracture is still unknown, but some factors enhance the risk, such as being over 50 years of age. 

Why is Dupuytren’s disease termed Viking disease?

Dupuytren’s contracture is termed as Viking disease due to its predominance in the North of Europe and those of Northern European descent. According to the tradition, the condition was common among the Vikings, who won and looted much of Northern Europe, spreading it among the communities they intermarried with. 

Symptoms of Dupuytren’s contracture syndrome

This condition develops and grows slowly over the years. As the disease grows, the skin on your palm might look contracted or wrinkled. Other?Viking disease symptoms include:?

  • Nodules: nodules under the skin of the palm are usually the first symptom of this condition. The nodules may feel sore and tender initially, but this discomfort eventually goes away. 
  • Cords: the nodules cause these hard bands of tissues to develop under the palm’s skin. These hard bands cause the fingers to bend towards the wrist. 
  • Contracture: as the condition gets more severe, it becomes difficult to straighten the fingers. People with Dupuytren’s contracture from this disease often have a hard time picking up large objects. For example, if you undergo this condition, you might find it difficult to put your hand flat on the table. 

Dupuytren’s disease risk factors

Some specific things may make you more likely to develop Dupuytren’s contracture. They include:

  • Consuming a lot of alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Seizures
  • Having a family member with the similar disease
  • Being of Northern European, or Scandinavian descent

Dupuytren’s contracture diagnosis Process

The physician will ask you questions about your symptoms, overall health, and your health history. Then they will check your hands and fingers. Diagnosis of this condition normally involves feeling the palm area to check for the nodules and how many are found. You may have tested to:

  • See how well you can grasp objects with your hands
  • Note how well you can pinch item with your fingers
  • Sense the feeling in your thumb and fingers
  • Check your range of motion in the fingers to see if you can straighten them. 

Dupuytren’s contracture treatment option

  1. Steroid injection: if a cord in hand is extremely sore and tender, your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid injection, also known as a steroid injection. It is powerful anti-inflammatory medicine, which is effective in reducing swelling and inflammation. The steroid injection may ease your pain and may prevent finger contracture from getting worse. You might need a range of shots to get long-term results. 
  1. Radiotherapy: low dose of radiotherapy may have a role in slowing the progression of early Dupuytren’s disease. However, radiotherapy is only suitable in the initial stages of this disease when your hand functioning is comparatively normal. 
  1. Enzyme injections: if your fingers are already curled, your doctor may give you a shot of a mixture of enzymes that help diffuse the thick and tight tissues. It dissolves the thick nodules and may allow your doctor to then pull the tightened area. 
  1. Fasciotomy: this method involves breaking the thick cord of ligament tissue to make the affected finger move easily. The doctor anesthetizes the area and makes a small incision in the palm near the affected finger. You have to wear a splint while the area heals. 
  1. Subtotal palmar fasciotomy: this method involves eliminating as much of the nodule and tissue so that your fingers can be straightened out. A cut will be made in your hand to reach the affected area. It is a more complicated type of surgery than fasciotomy; therefore, it involves more recovery time. 
  1. Needle aponeurotomy: the surgeon will inject a local anesthetic and then use a fine needle to pierce the skin. They gently cut through the tight nodule and straighten your finger. It is also a minimally invasive procedure performed by the surgeon. 

Dupuytren’s contracture complications

Dupuytren’s contracture can make it challenging to perform certain tasks in your day-to-day life. This condition usually doesn’t affect your thumb or index finger; it may not bother you in its early stages. However, it is crucial to see the doctor if you are experiencing symptoms.