is called Dupuytren's Contracture. Slowly a finger, or fingers, is drawn down
toward the palm or wrist. This action is caused by the connective tissue in the
palms and fingers becoming short and thick, too short and thick to allow free
movement of the fingers. Baron Guillaume Dupuytren, a French surgeon, described
the surgical treatment for the disease now bearing his name in 1832, and
reported it in Lancet in 1834. The
cause of it is not understood well, but some things have been learned in recent
has been considered the only treatment, and there are controversies over the
type of procedure which should be used. Should it be an extensive excision or
limited excision of the connective tissue in the palm and fingers? And when in
the progress of the disease is it best to operate, early or late?
And there is controversy over whether the wound should be left open or
closed after the surgery.
all methods of treatment currently used in standard medicine, we find a
disappointingly high rate of recurrence after what appears to be successful
operations. We believe alternative
methods should be applied as soon as the first symptom appears.
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, we believe delaying surgery as long
as possible to be the more desirable course
is the most important factor; 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 the fifth and the seventh decades of life.
blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides) have been associated with
Dupuytren’s disease.1 Ideal blood
lipid levels are 100 plus the person’s age for cholesterol, and the same as
the age for triglycerides.
associated diseases have been observed, including epilepsy, diabetes, alcohol
abuse, heart disease, and pulmonary disease.
Note that each of these diseases is usually treated with powerful drugs,
which may unite their metabolic disturbances with the metabolic disturbance of
the disease to cause growth of the connective tissue in the palms and fingers.
study showed alcoholics have a higher rate of this disease than others—28 per
cent as compared to 8 per cent.2
Several studies have indicated an association between some kind of immune
disorder and Dupuytren’s contracture in susceptible persons.3
II diabetes (adult onset) with absent or reduced insulin receptors on cells of
the palmar connective tissue, with a disturbance of the smallest blood vessels
and nerves, (micro angiopathy and neuropathy), as well as cigarette smoking, and
other factors such as barbiturate use, promote the development of connective
= 100 plus your age
= Your age
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.
forces, such as electrical fields, seem to be indicated by some research in
causing Dupuytren’s contracture. Electrical fields have had bad press in many
areas, also including cancer.7
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
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.8 Nevertheless, at whatever
stage you are, we recommend the following home remedies be applied very
The most favorable diet is a totally vegetarian diet—no meat, milk, eggs, or
cheese. Damage from xanthine
oxidase, which is found in homogenized milk, was discovered in the palmar
connective tissue of patients with Dupuytren’s contracture.
Xanthine oxidase has also been found in the joints of both normal and
rheumatoid joints, suggesting these joints may be the target of damage by free
radicals promoted by this enzyme.9
Use no free fats—margarine, mayonnaise, fried foods, cooking fats, salad oils,
or nut butters. Free fats cause
tissue proliferation in certain diseases (cancer and skin lesions), and could be
a factor. Free radicals are
compounds with unpaired electrons, making them chemically active.
Since they are not harnessed in any way, they can shoot around and cause
damage. They are developed from
fats, and play a part in inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and possibly help
cause Dupuytren’s contracture.10
Be regular in your schedule—especially with mealtimes, bedtimes, etc.
Do physical exercise to tolerance, at least 6 days a week.
This should be done with religious consistency.
Finger and wrist exercises have helped in trials using also heat and
Get a sponge ball from a toy department and try to make your thumb meet
each finger, one by one, through the sponge ball using a pinching motion.
Begin with five repetitions with each finger, and build up to twenty.
Then squeeze the ball as firmly as possible, and while holding the
squeeze tightly, slowly bend the wrist up and down as if waving goodbye.
Soak hands and wrists in hot water four times a day for 20 minutes each time,
for two months, and after the hands become warm the fingers should be
manipulated and stretched by firm massage and pulling or pushing.
The use of ultra sound with the heat has proved beneficial in many cases.12
Some cases have been effectively treated and corrected with ultrasound.
Severely contracted hands will sometimes improve considerably.13
A long period of fasting, 3 to 5 days, at the beginning of the treatment may be
helpful. This should be followed by
a diet sufficient to keep the blood sugar between 70 and 85, the blood pressure
under 120/80, and the blood cholesterol and triglycerides in the ideal range.
If hypertension is also present, the patient should be given a very strict
routine of blood pressure control. (See our Blood Pressure book.)
- While free fats and oils of all kinds should be removed from the diet, nuts, seeds, avocadoes, and olives, may be used as desired. All free sugars should also be removed from the diet such as sugar, honey, syrup, molasses, etc. Fruits may be eaten freely, however
1. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 74B:923-927, November, 1992
Journal of Hand Surgery 17:71-4;1992
Journal of Hand Surgery 16:267-71; 1991
Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice 11:121-5; 1991
Archives of Internnal Medicine 149:911-4; 1989
Journal of Hand Surgery 11:463-4; 1986
Annales de Surgery Chirugie de la Main et du Membre Superieur 11(5):355-61;1992
Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism 3(2):155;1973
British Medical Journal 296:292-293;1988
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 70-B:689;November 1988
Journal of American Geriatrics Society 16:531; 1968
Heat Therapy and Ultrasonics 208:125;1972
Physiotherapy 66:55; 1980
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Disclaimer: The above counseling sheet
is provided courtesy of the Uchee Pines
Health Institute. The Uchee Pines Institute was started almost 30 years ago
by Calvin Thrash, M.D., specialist in Internal Medicine, and his wife, Agatha
Thrash, M.D., board specialist in pathology. It is a non-profit, health
educational and treatment facility located in the country near Seale, Alabama,
15 miles from Columbus, Georgia. (Address: Uchee Pines Institute, 30
Uchee Pines Road
Seale, Alabama 36875-5702. Phone: (334) 855-4764. Fax: (334) 855-4780. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Location Map: Click Here). The information contained in the counseling sheets is presented as a general educational and information guide. The counseling sheets are not intended to be used for instruction in medical treatment. The author cannot assume the medical or legal responsibility of having this information misinterpreted and considered as a prescription for any condition or any person.