What causes Dupuytren disease?
Doctors don't know what causes Dupuytren disease, although they do know that it affects certain groups of people more often than others. The disease is the thickening of the skin on the palm of the hand. This can happen on one hand alone, but often develops in both at the same time. For some people, Dupuytren disease goes beyond the palm of the hand, towards the fingers. The thickened skin begins to pull on the fingers and causes them to flex, or bend, to the point that they can't straighten out again. It's a slow progressing disease that also can affect the soles of the feet occasionally. Dupuytren disease is more common in people with Northern European ancestry but how many people are affected isn't known. The reports vary from 2 percent to 42 percent. It is more common as people get older, usually in the fifties and men are diagnosed with it six times more often than women are. Other people who seem to develop Dupuytren disease more often are those with diabetes, who drink alcohol, who smoke, who have a traumatic injury to the affected hand(s), and those who do manual labor with vibrations to the hand, such as using a jack hammer.