Dupuyten’s contracture

Dupuyten’s contracture causes the formation of large lumps and cords underneath the palm of the hand. Over time, these growths may pull a finger down towards the palm and the others may be difficult to straighten. These fibres are made up of enlarged connective tissue in the hand called palmar fascia.

The cause of Dupuyten’s contracture is unknown. It is believed that a number of factors increase the risk, including age in men, diabetes or excessive alcohol or tobacco consumption. It appears to occur more in families of Scandinavian origin, which is why it’s also called the Viking disease.

Symptoms include:

  • Lumps or cords on the palm of the hand near the base of the finger.
  • This most often affects the ring and little fingers, but may affect the others too.
  • The lumps may turn into a thicker cord running along the palm and in the fingers.
  • It’s usually painless.
  • It may get worse over years or decades and eventually restrict the patient’s ability to straighten their fingers or the thumb away from the palm.

Physiotherapy identifies the main cause of the problem and helps in selecting the right treatment methods. The treatment used depends largely on issues identified during your first consultation.