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Stretching to delay contracture
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01/28/2003 23:56
Val 
01/28/2003 23:56
Val 
Stretching to delay contracture

I started a thread at

http://www.dupuytren.org/wwwboard/wwwboard.html

relating how my father suggested gentle regular stretching to delay contracture for DC. If you have had any success or failure or have thoughts about the efficacy of it, please post here or there.

Thanks.
-Val

02/07/2003 23:02
Judi 
02/07/2003 23:02
Judi 
Stretching

I had surgery in Feb.02 for Carpal Tunnel and replacement of thumb joint (from severe arthritis) at same. By the time the cast came off, I had developed nodules at the base of three fingers (pinky to middle)and there are growing nodules at the base of each finger. I have been working daily to keep stretching back over and over, and I have also been working at strength training with medium therpeutic putty, a little device like spring-loaded finger-by-finger exerciser, and thus far, the only "contracture" I have had to deal with is the loss of my "double-jointed" ability to bend fingers over the back of my hand. I use hot wax baths suggested by my Dr. when the cramping/pinging as I call it gets too uncomfortable, and when my hand is fully warmed, I do more stretching. I also saw a second surgeon who prescribed a night splint -- he told me that anyone who had worn this kind of splint had never come to need surgery for DC! I don't know if he was telling me the truth, but I wore it religiously for months.
I also should point out I am taking daily Vit. C, lots of other herbal and nutritional supplments. My younger son just was diagnosed last month at age 30 -- his nodule grew very quickly and he is stretching too. We will continue to monitor progress of the BioSpecifics Technologies Corp. colllagenase injections at State Univ. of NY, but for now, the stretching has been very effective.

02/07/2003 23:52
Tom M

not registered

02/07/2003 23:52
Tom M

not registered

stretching

Judi:

You might want to read through many of the postings at this site. There is some concern that excessive Vitamin C may exacerbate the condition. On the other hand, there has been speculation that Vitamin E is helpful. Keep in mind that just as the character of Dupuytren's varies significantly from person to person, similarly, individuals vary widely in their responses to treatments.

Tom M

02/23/2003 23:16
leta

not registered

02/23/2003 23:16
leta

not registered

stretching

I've just been diagnosed w/ D's disease, but have had the symptons for 5 years. I thought the "curling up" of my little finger was a result of a dog bite. (You will never convince me this didn't contribute to the onset of the disease). My finger used to ache from time to time, but I started consciously trying to STRETCH it a few minutes every day. And the aching has stopped. The distension hasn't changed, but at least it is not getting worse. After reading others postings I am less inclined to consider surgery anytime soon.

02/26/2003 23:12
ValR

not registered

02/26/2003 23:12
ValR

not registered

stretching

Hi Leta,

Thanks for sharing. Since I posted last month, I have been stretching the skin that seemed to be adhering to the nodule. Sometime it was a little painful, but the pain and tenderness have gone away, except when it really stretch it by using my thumb right beside the nodule and stretching the skin away from the nodule while I flex (stretch) the finger back and forth.

This seems to have loosened the skin that was adhering to the nodule and I have not noticed an reduction in range of movement. I can still place my hand on the table and lift my finger up about an inch unaided. Of course, there may not have been any reduction in range of motion if I hadn't done this, so I can't say that the stretching has prevented contracture.

When you try to extend your finger, do you feel that the skin is limiting your motion or that the tendon is limiting your motion?

Thanks. -Val

03/29/2003 23:42
Sean 
03/29/2003 23:42
Sean 
Stretching

Val,
Keep us posted on your situation. I would think you are taking a real gamble (but maybe not). It just seems that DC, if it is messed with, often gets stimulated rather than arrested. I know mine will get worse when I do work with a shovel or rake or something similar over a period of time. It seems to go dormant when the hand is not stressed.
Good luck

03/29/2003 23:35
jim h

not registered

03/29/2003 23:35
jim h

not registered

Stretching to delay contracture

The surgeon told me right at the start that "you can't win by stretching - it's been tried." But I've always had some doubts. With enough force, anything can be stretched - even steel. Some doctors think that stretching DC tissue causes a counter-reaction, eventually making things worse. But - if I stretched that tissue once, I should be able to to it again.

The problem might be that the DC tissue is just harder, tougher and more stretch-resistant than the tissue it's anchored too - so if we try hard enough, we'll end up stretching - or tearing - the good tissue and compounding the problem.

I suspect that really agressive, systematic stretching hasn't been tried in a clinical setting becuase it would require an unusually determined and focussed patient for it to have a chance of working.

What I really want is an engineer's understanding of the materials and structures involved, then I could devise a plan to stretch the parts I wanted to stretch. A bit of pain wouldn't easily scare me off. So I do think that this disease, although it has a systemic cause, could have a mechanical solution.

Now before anyone reads this and heads for the basement to start attaching clamps and wires to their hand - understand that I AM NOT A DOCTOR and am only offering some ideas for which I have NO PROOF whatsoever.

03/30/2003 23:57
Val 
03/30/2003 23:57
Val 
Stretching to delay contracture

Please note that if you read the link to the other forum where I posted my father's experience (my first post in this thread, see below) I related how he had staved of contracture for 15 years, until he became too sick to pay attention to it. He did it by sleeping with his hand flat under the pillow, whenever he noticed contraction. He said that sometime it hurt alot to stretch it out.

Since my case seems nearly identical to my father's, I've decided to "risk" using the same procedure. I stress that his DC was late onset (50's) like mine and did not progress rapidly. It may be that benefits, if any, are confined to those in similar circumstances.

I can't say that your doctor is wrong and that stretching will work. Maybe he wouldn't have contracted even if he didn't stretch, and now, in the last 5 years, the contracture has begun. My father thinks is worked for him. In the responses to this thread and the one on the other forum, there is a split in opinion and experience.

It seems that it may be helpful for some cases. It may exacerbate others. As others have said, work with your doctor.
-Val

04/10/2003 23:26
Roman Macgregor

not registered

04/10/2003 23:26
Roman Macgregor

not registered

stretching

I found it very useful; I made a basic splinter (a very small woodboard) that I fix on top of the hand with an elastic band, before going to bed. The elastic band gently pulls the finger(s) straight. I did this for few months and my finger went from -25deg to -5deg.
Keep it straight.
Roman

04/18/2003 23:34
John

not registered

04/18/2003 23:34
John

not registered

Stretching

I have to opt for the stretching camp. I know that repeated stretching, coupled with deep massage of the DC area, has kept the tissue soft and pliable. There is not near as much pain when I place weight (as during a push-up exercise) on my flat hand. As far as I'm concerned, leaving DC alone for fear of aggravating it is akin to striking a deal with the devil. JK

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