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For further information, see CMDT Part 41-04: Upper Extremity Musculoskeletal Injuries

Key Features

Essentials of Diagnosis

  • Benign fibrosing disorder of the palmar fascia

  • Contracture of one or more fingers can lead to limited hand function

General Considerations

  • Cause is unknown

  • Occurs primarily in White men older than 50 years; incidence is higher among alcoholics and patients with chronic systemic disorders (especially cirrhosis)

  • Also associated with systemic fibrosing syndrome, which includes

    • Plantar fibromatosis (10% of patients)

    • Peyronie disease (1–2%)

    • Mediastinal and retroperitoneal fibrosis

    • Riedel struma

Clinical Findings

  • Onset may be acute, but slowly progressive chronic disease is more common

  • Nodular or cord-like thickening of one or both hands, with the fourth and fifth fingers most commonly affected

  • Tightness of the involved digits, with inability to satisfactorily extend the fingers; on occasion, there is tenderness

  • The contracture is well tolerated because it exaggerates the normal position of function of the hand, although resulting cosmetic problems may be unappealing


  • Clinical


  • Common treatment options

    • Corticosteroid injections

    • Percutaneous needle aponeurotomy

    • Collagenase Clostridium histolyticum (CCH) injections

    • Open fasciectomy

  • Injections of triamcinolone or collagenase into a rapidly growing palmar nodule may be of benefit

  • Injection of CCH lyses collagen, thereby disrupting the contracted cords

  • Surgical options for patients with more severe flexion contractures include

    • Open fasciectomy

    • Partial fasciectomy

    • Percutaneous needle aponeurotomy



  • Splinting after surgery is beneficial

  • Recurrence and more adverse events are more likely to occur after surgery than with nonoperative treatments

  • Overall, treatment success is lower for PIP joints than for MCP joints

  • Fasciectomies are more successful for severe conditions involving multiple fingers, while percutaneous needle aponeurotomy is cost-effective and useful for milder cases and for single digit involvement

  • CCH injections are not currently cost effective due to high reintervention rates, regardless of severity

  • Some evidence suggests superior clinical outcomes of percutaneous needle aponeurotomy compared with CCH and a higher minor complication rate with CCH

  • Compared to placebo, tamoxifen therapy produced moderate evidence of improvement before or after a fasciectomy

When to Refer

  • Referral can be considered when one or more digits are affected by severe contractures that interfere with everyday activities and result in functional limitations


Boe  C  et al. Dupuytren contractures: an update of recent literature. J Hand Surg Am. 2021;46:896.
[PubMed: 34452797]  
Hirase  T  et al. Percutaneous needle fasciotomy versus collagenase injection for Dupuytren's contracture: a systematic review of comparative studies. J Hand Microsurg. 2021;13:150.
[PubMed: 34511831]  
Leafblad  ND  et al. Outcomes and direct costs of needle aponeurotomy, collagenase injection, ...

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