Legendary quarterback and NFL Hall-of-Famer John Elway recently revealed that he is suffering from a hand condition known as Dupuytren’s Contracture. Our expert team of hand and wrist surgeons at Texas Orthopedics is experienced at diagnosing and treating this condition.
Where he once had hands of steel—strong and steady that could thread a needle with the passes he threw—Elway now describes a much different scenario where the fingers in his hands have stiffly curled and lost the capacity to straighten, grasp things, and even perform simple everyday tasks.
Dupuytren’s is a slow-developing condition that results from a build-up of extra collagen formed under the skin of your palm and fingers. This collagen creates thick, rope-like cords that wrap around ligaments in the hand and fingers preventing them from functioning normally.
Experts say that Elway is not alone, and an estimated 16 million people in the U.S. are affected by this condition.
What are the symptoms of Dupuytren’s?
Common signs of this condition include:
- Inability to straighten fingers/crooked and clenched fingers
- Difficulty with fine motor skills or performing small tasks
- Appearance of rough, rope-like tissue in the fingers and hands
- Irregular nodules, dimpling, or pitting on the hands and fingers
- Soreness and tenderness in hands or fingers
- Failure to pass the “Table Top” test by not being able to flatten all your fingers and palm easily against a table
How is Dupuytren’s treated?
While there currently is no cure for it, there are many ways to successfully treat it and improve functionality of the hand and fingers.
Physical therapy and specific exercises prescribed by a hand specialist can rebuild flexibility and range of motion in the fingers. If that does not work, injections of prescription Xiaflex are another option to help loosen the tough collagen tissues and cords allowing fingers to straighten again. Finally, your orthopedist may discuss surgery with you as a last resort if neither physical therapy or injections work.
If you have symptoms of Dupuytren’s or have questions about it, please contact us online anytime for an appointment with one of our hand and wrist specialists including Dr. Robert Foster, Dr. Brian Hardy, Dr. Daniel Stewart, and Dr. Jason Somogyi.