Dupuytren's Contracture of the Hand (Viking's Disease)

What is Dupuytren's Contracture of the Hand?

Dupuytren’s Contracture of the Hand (often known as Viking’s Disease) is a condition that affects the deep layers of tissue in the palm of the hand and fingers. The condition causes the tissue to thicken and form a thick band of tissue, known as a cord, which progresses and causes the fingers to bend inward, making them unable to straighten. It is a fairly common condition, with one study estimating it affects 3-7 percent of the population.

Causes of Dupuytren's Contracture

The exact cause of Dupuytren's Contracture is unknown. However, some risk factors that can increase your chances of developing it include:

  • Age over 60
  • Family history of Dupuytren’s Contracture
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Smoking
  • Occupations that require a lot of hand use
  • Exposure to certain toxins, such as chromates and organic solvents

Symptoms of Dupuytren's Contracture

The most common symptom of Dupuytren's Contracture is the thickening of tissue in the palm over time that can cause the fingers to bend inward. In the early stages, you may experience a tender spot or lump in the palm of your hand, or an area of thickened skin. As the condition progresses, you may be unable to straighten your fingers or grip objects in your hand.

Treatment for Dupuytren's Contracture

Treatment for Dupuytren's Contracture can range from simple self-care measures to medical procedures. The goal of treatment is to reduce the contracture and improve your ability to use your hand. Depending on the severity of the contracture, treatments may include exercises and stretches, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), cortisone injections, surgery, and laser treatment.