Dupuytren's contracture is named after the famous surgeon Baron Guillaume Dupuytren (1777-1835) who described an operation to correct this particular contracture.
It is a fixed flexion contracture of the hand where the fingers bend towards the palm and cannot be fully extended (straightened). The ring and little fingers are most commonly affected but all fingers may be involved. Dupuytren's contracture progresses slowly and is usually painless. In patients with this condition, the tissues under the skin on the palm of the hand thicken and shorten enough that the tendons connected to the fingers cannot move freely. The affected fingers start to bend more and more and cannot be straightened.
Incidence increases after the age of 40 and men are affected more than women.
Risk factors are diabetes, liver disease, alcoholism, epilepsy and pulmonary tuberculosis.