In Dupuytren’s disease, the tissue between the skin and the tendons known as the fascia becomes thickened due to a proliferation of collagen. As the collagen increases, nodules or cords are formed and the elasticity of the fascia is reduced, ultimately leading to the contracture of the fingers in some patients. In some cases the skin is also involved, but the tendons are not affected by the condition. Dupuytren's disease typically occurs slowly; however, progression may temporarily stop or rapidly progress. There are three common symptoms that people with Dupuytren's disease may experience:
- Nodule(s) - The most common symptom of Dupuytren's disease is a firm lump or nodule in the palm of the hand near the flexion crease. The nodules are often near the base of the ring or small finger and may also appear in the fingers as the conditions progresses. The nodules can be painful at the onset of the condition, but usually resolves in a few months.
- Cord(s) - A cord is a band of fibrotic tissue that extends from the palm into one or more fingers. These cords can cause the fingers to pull or contract inward to the palm and prevent the hand from being completely opened. The contracture of the fingers can lead to a severe deformity that makes use of the hand difficult or impossible. The ring and small finger are the most commonly affected with the index finger being rarely affected.
- Dermal Pit(s) - Dermal pits are usually located in the palm but can be located in the fingers. The pit appears as a small but deep indentation of the skin. This symptom can appear alone or in association with the other symptoms.
As with most conditions, people may not experience all of these symptoms. For example, many people will experience nodules but will not develop any contracture of the fingers. The severity of the symptoms can also vary widely from person to person.