Dupuytren's contracture is caused when connective tissue in the palms and fingers becomes shorter and thicker bringing the fingers inward toward the palms. Baron Guillaume Dupuytren, a French surgeon, described the surgical treatment for the disease which now bears his name in 1832. While the cause of it is not understood well, some things have been learned in recent years.
Inheritance is the most important factor in this condition. Whites, especially those of Celtic origin, have the highest incidence, and it runs in families. It is uncommon in pigmented races, and males are at least twice as often affected as females, in some reports as high as 7 to 1. The peak incidence is between ages 50 to 70 years old.
It was once thought occupational trauma and Peyronie's disease, a male genital tract disease, were factors, but now are recognized not to be factors. Yet, the right hand is more often affected, the ring finger (forth) being most often involved, followed by the small, middle, and index fingers.
The younger the patient, the more rapidly it progresses. The commonest first sign is a fleshy nodule in the palm, usually located at the base of the ring or small finger in the crease where the finger joins the hand. The nodule may be painful or itch, and may reach one half inch in diameter. It is followed by puckering of the skin of the palm over the involved tendon.
Surgery has been considered the only treatment, and there are controversies over the type of procedure which should be used. In all methods of treatment currently used in standard medicine, there is a high rate of recurrence after what appears to be successful operations. Every attempt should be made to arrest the progress of the disease before it becomes disabling. However, if natural remedies fail to halt the disease, some doctors feel that delaying surgery until necessary may be the best course.
Several treatments have been tried and failed to alter the course of the disease, including vitamin E, steroid injections, radiation therapy, ultrasound, and splinting. It has been said that successful conservative treatment is possible only at the very beginning of the disease.
Here is a link to a page about Dupuytren's and Plantar Fibromatosis by Dr. Alan Greene.
Please see the condition Tendonitis for further information and treatments, including treatments for tendonosis.