Named after the French Napoleonic Surgeon Baron Dupuytren, this is a common condition affecting the hand characterised by nodules or cords starting in the palm. In a third of patients the nodules will progress into cords which can cause digital contracture. The little and ring fingers are most affected. The aggressive form of Dupuytrens, is characterised by radial (thumb and index) sided disease, bilateral disease, ectopic disease (eg in the feet), early age onset and strong family history.
The cause is unknown but we know that there is a genetic predisposition and people of Northern European (‘Viking’) heritage are particularly affected. It was previously thought to be associated with the ’good life’ (heavy smoking and alcohol consumption) but there is not enough evidence to back this up. There is an association with diabetes. Trauma /injury can accelerate the onset