Over 1000 years ago there were people suffering from bent fingers that couldn’t be straightened. They didn’t know then, but the disease they had was called Dupuytren’s contracture, and by they we mean the Vikings. That's why this condition is also known as the ”Viking disease”.1
This is Dupuytren's disease
Dupuytren‘s disease is a benign condition that affects the palms of the hand and the fingers, in most cases the ring finger and little finger. The condition worsens over time and might cause the fingers to bend toward the palm. This often interferes with everyday tasks such as carrying, typing, wearing gloves, steering and shaking hands.2,3
The signs and symptoms
If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms, it is recommended that you get in touch with your doctor for advice.4
– have trouble straightening your fingers or palm
– feel the skin of your palm becoming thick
– feel small lumps underneath the skin in the palm of your hand
– notice pitting – small, but deep indentations of the skin
How is Dupuytren’s treated?
There is currently no cure for Dupuytren's disease. However, the bend in your fingers can be straightened. Depending on the severity of the bending, or if your hand function is significantly affected, your doctor (GP) will consider referring you to a hand specialist for an investigation. The specialist will discuss the different treatment options, non-surgical and/or surgical, and together you will decide on the best treatment option for you.
- Adrian E. Flatt Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2001 Oct;14(4):378–384.
- Townley WA et al. BMJ. 2006;332:397–400.
- Bayat A and McGrouther DA. Ann R Clil Surg Engl. 2006;88:3–8.
- Rayan GM. J Bone Joint Surg 2007; 89: 189-198.