Dr. Steven H. Goldberg answers your questions about Dupuytren’s contracture.
I noticed a new lump on the palm of my hand, and I noticed my tendon is visible and tight where I can’t fully straighten my finger. What could this be?
Dupuytren’s contracture, or fibromatosis, is a condition that can cause lumps on the palm of the hand; it also causes cords on the palm or fingers. The cord is not the tendon but rather a thickening of the fascia, a normal structure below the skin. The cord contains myofibroblasts which have a muscle-like quality that pull on the skin causing puckering, dimpling, and bending of the finger. The lumps and cords can also occur on the soles of the feet. Some people are more likely to have this disease due to genetics.
How do you know this lump is Dupuytren’s and not cancer?
Most lumps in the palm are not cancerous. Skin cancers are more common in sun-exposed areas, so a lump on the back of the hand is more likely to be cancerous compared to one on the palm. Dupuytren’s lumps in the palm of the hand most commonly form in the ring and small finger. Skin puckering or dimpling can occur, and you typically can’t fully straighten your fingers. This loss of motion is less common with other masses or tumors. Dupuytren’s lumps are typically not painful and usually do not grow much. A more worrisome bump or lump is often painful, can have rapid growth, and can either be painful at night or when resting. If a patient is very concerned about the lump, it can be surgically biopsied to confirm it is Dupuytren’s contracture.