Knots and Nodules in the Palm
Dupuytren’s disease is a condition that causes the tissue underneath the skin on your palm and fingers to tighten and thicken, producing knots and nodules at the base of your fingers. Over time, the knots can form cords that pull your fingers into a permanently bent position. The condition is usually painless and most often affects your ring and small fingers. It is sometimes referred to as Dupuytren’s contracture.
The cause of Dupuytren’s disease is unknown. The condition tends to run in families and is experienced more frequently by men than women.
Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook
The early symptoms of Dupuytren’s disease are often mild and slow to progress. Initial signs include a nodule or thickened skin on the palm of your hand. As the condition progresses, the skin on your palm appears dimpled or pitted. A firm lump may develop. Although it may be sensitive to touch, it should not be painful.
Over time, cords of tissue may develop and extend from the lump or nodule to either your ring or small finger. In later stages of Dupuytren’s disease, the cords may tighten and draw your fingers into your palm.
In most cases, Dupuytren’s disease is diagnosed with an examination of your hands, which includes:
- Comparison of both hands to check for puckering, lumps or tenderness
- Assessment of your hand’s flexibility, strength, range of motion and feeling
- Tabletop test to assess your ability to flatten your hand
- Measurement and mapping of nodules and cords
Dupuytren’s disease progresses at an unpredictable rate. More severe cases may require surgery to restore your hand’s function and mobility.
Experts in Care
Meet our doctors, view their profiles and select the one that’s right for you.Find a doctor near you
Why Choose Penn State Health for Care
Top-Ranked by U.S. News & World Report
Penn State Health includes the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, ranked as one of the best orthopaedic providers in the country by U.S. News & World Report. This honor was earned because our doctors consistently deliver exceptional patient care and outcomes through their commitment to advanced treatments, translational research and provider training.
Coordinated, Specialized Care Through a Dedicated Institute
Our orthopaedic specialists work together through our dedicated Penn State Bone and Joint Institute. There, they focus on providing you with multidisciplinary, tailored care and state-of-the-art treatments and technologies. This produces the highest-quality patient outcomes. All physicians at the institute are fellowship-trained and subspecialize in additional niche areas of orthopaedics and sports medicine.
Advancing Orthopaedic Medicine Through Research
The doctors and researchers in our Center for Orthopaedic Research and Translational Science at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center are committed to advancing our field through scientific discovery and education. As the only academic medical center in central Pennsylvania, Hershey Medical Center is a national leader in research, in partnership with Penn State College of Medicine, and on the leading edge of new treatment options, including clinical trials.
Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other patients and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.
Find the care your family needs, close to home, at one of our many locations throughout central Pennsylvania.Find a location near you