1) Definition: Dupuytren's Fasciitis and Contracture - a disease of the palmar fascia (thin but tough layer of fibrous tissue between the skin of the palm and the underlying flexor tendons of the fingers) resulting in progressive thickening and contracture of fibrous bands on the palmar surface of the hand and fingers. Fasciitis implies inflammation of the fascia, and contracture implies thickening and tightening of the diseased fascia. Basically, the tissue on the palm side of the hand thickens (can become as thick as 0.5cm) and essentially "shrinks" and produces a tightness in the area of the hand which the diseased tissue overlies. It occurs most often in the fourth and fifth digits (ring and small fingers). It is a very common problem and often arises in the hands of middle aged persons; however, it can be seen as early as the twenties. This entity does run in families in some cases. It is seven times more common in men than women. It has been associated with diabetes and can be seen in alcoholics with cirrhosis of the liver. It has also been associated with epilepsy but may be a result of the use of anticonvulsant drugs rather than the presence of epilepsy itself. The underlying cause is unknown.
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