If you’re grappling with Dupuytren’s disease and the rigid nodules in your hand have left you wondering whether massage can provide relief, you’re not alone. As an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist with over two decades of experience, I’ve encountered various forms and stages of Dupuytren’s contractures. Today, I aim to address a common query: Can you massage away Dupuytren’s disease?
Can You Massage Away Dupuytren’s Contracture?
The straightforward answer is no. Dupuytren’s disease affects the fascial fibers inside your hand, causing them to harden. Once this hardening occurs, massaging the affected area won’t make the disease disappear. However, there are ways to manage the symptoms and improve your overall hand health.
While you can’t massage away Dupuytren’s disease itself, you can focus on massaging the surrounding tissues, including bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. The primary goal is to ensure that your joints move smoothly, tendons glide freely, and muscles remain flexible. For those who have undergone surgery to release contractures, massage can be particularly beneficial.
Dupuytren’s Contracture Massage Techniques
Let’s delve into a few techniques you can incorporate into your routine if you’re dealing with a Dupuytren’s contracture:
1. Massage to Open
Dupuytren’s typically doesn’t cause pain but restricts the ability to open the hand fully. Instead of massaging to make the condition disappear, concentrate on massaging to open up the fingers. Focus on the areas between the bones, using the side of your thumb to gently massage the muscles. This won’t cure Dupuytren’s, but it can help maintain flexibility.
2. Joint-by-Joint Approach
Take a joint-by-joint approach, paying particular attention to the big knuckle, middle knuckle, and little knuckle. Use massage to ensure your joints remain supple and your tendons and ligaments are not overly tight. While it won’t eliminate Dupuytren’s, this approach aims to prevent further stiffness and tightness.
3. Directional Massage
Massage in between your fingers, utilizing the side of your thumb or fingers to gently twist in different directions. This technique helps loosen ligaments and muscles, promoting flexibility. Remember, the goal is not to make a fist, as Dupuytren’s typically allows for fist formation; rather, it’s about ensuring you can open your fingers effectively.
4. Checking Middle Knuckle
Regularly check the flexibility of your middle knuckle. If you notice it’s not straightening as much as other knuckles, focus on stretching and massaging in the direction that feels most comfortable for you. This can contribute to maintaining joint mobility.
It’s crucial to acknowledge that these massage techniques won’t eliminate Dupuytren’s disease. Once the fibers start pulling and causing significant contracture, consulting a hand surgeon becomes essential. Surgical intervention can release the affected fibers, offering relief in more severe cases.
While I often emphasize non-surgical approaches, Dupuytren’s disease may necessitate surgery as it progresses. Consider consulting a trusted occupational therapist or certified hand therapist who can guide you to reputable hand surgeons if needed. This non-emergency condition allows you the time to research, gather information, and make informed decisions tailored to your lifestyle.
In conclusion, these massage techniques serve as supplementary measures to maintain joint flexibility and alleviate discomfort associated with Dupuytren’s contracture. If you find value in articles like this, please share and comment below. Thank you for reading!
Learn more about (8) Can You Massage Away Dupuytren’s Contracture? – YouTube
Hoang Tran is a certified hand therapist in Miami and the proud owner of Hands-on Therapy Services. Hoang is extremely dedicated to helping people who are dealing with hand, neck, and shoulder issues since he understands the potentially crippling effects if not properly addressed and treated. He is also the author of the book “The Hands-On Approach.“
Hoang’s goal in her occupational therapy practice is to get patients back to 100% functioning without the use of medication, injections, or surgery. The clinic provides both physical and occupational therapy, in addition to a variety of other hands-on therapy services. Professional therapists with years of experience providing these treatments treat patients holistically.
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