Dupuytren's Contracture and MELT
March 26, 2012
One of my instructors recently asked me about Dupuytren’s contracture. I’ve had a few clients over the years managing this disorder without medication and only with self-treatments and hands on bodywork.
Dupuytren's contracture is scientifically a fibroproliferative disorder meaning that it affects the connective tissues and makes it hard and stiff. It is most common in of men over age 60 who are of Scandinavian, Irish, or eastern European descent. It’s hard to simplify but it makes the small vessels in the hands ischemic and at the cellular level, it promotes too much fibroblast (cells of connective tissue) population in local areas like around the tendons. It’s sort of like developing too much collagen in small regions where the fluids of the connective tissues like hyaluronic acid is lacking in volume. Although there are surgeries said to help, there are considerable complications and postoperative therapy is long, slow, and rarely successful. It’s usually performed when the finger joints contract over 30 degrees. It is like trying to touch the tips of your fingers to your own palm.
I have found a few non-surgical, rather helpful techniques to improve the flexion and extension of the fingers so the disease doesn’t progress so quickly and grip strength isn’t lost.
Some of the MELT Hand Treatment Techniques are very helpful to both improve the fluid state of the connective tissue so the collagen bindings don’t close off around the tendon. We begin with a quick Grip Assess to determine if there is imbalance in strength between the left and right hands. Next, we use the Finger Compression and the Knuckle Decompression techniques. After the two techniques are performed, we also Glide and Shear the base of the palm and end with Back of Hand and Forearm Rinsing techniques. I recommend my Dupuytren’s clients do this sequence everyday using the soft MELT Hand Ball for all of the techniques. Knuckle Decompression is performed with the small firm ball but can also be performed with the soft ball.
If you have Dupuytren’s, I would recommend seeking out one of our MELT Hand and Foot Instructors. There are over 300 of them across the country and can show you how to contour your Hand Treatment to your disorder.