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"Depuytrens Contractur" (fingers are pulled towards the palm).

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by fearceol, Jan 24, 2014.

  1. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Just wondering if there are many other sufferers out there. I am lucky in that mine is comparatively mild because just the pinkie on the fretting hand is affected. If I stretch out my hand, palm up, the pinkie is vertical. I can still use it to fret, but the movement is restricted.

    Thankfully this does not impede my playing too much, but I often wish it was on the plucking hand, where it would not matter bass playing wise. I know it could be a lot worse, as I have seen photos where all the fingers are bent, making an out stretched hand look like a claw.

    Anyway, just thought I'd touch base and see how others are coping.
  2. skot71

    skot71 Guest

    A friend of mine has that. Not a player, but does construction, so uses his hands alot. I'll have to check in with him to see how he's doing.
  3. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I have had this happen 3 times over the years of playing bass. The last time was the last gig I played this year and it was really bad and really painful.

    It happened in the middle of a song where I was doing some fast index, middle finger riff with my plucking hand.
    I had to quit playing and it finally went away. I have a bad right wrist (Carpal tunnel) and it is the reason mine kicks in. My CT had been bad that week for I did allot of leaf raking to stir it up but I did not see it coming..suks!
  4. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    I was diagnosed with this ~20 years ago, when I noticed a small mass growing in my right (plucking) hand near the base of the pinky finger. Fortunately it hasn't gotten any worse, and it doesn't impact my bass playing. Therapeutic massage seems to help.
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  6. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    I am not very well up on the subject, but AFAIK how you use your hands has little to do with getting it. I think it is hereditary. My father and aunt had it more severely than I.

    From what you describe, it does not sound like what we are talking about. Depuytrens Contracture is where tissue beneath the skin thickens and thus shortens the tendon, pulling back the finger(s) in the process.

    What you describe sounds like your fingers locking up, possibly from cramp.
  7. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
    I have this disease and had surgery on the pinkie finger of my (left) fretting hand just over two years ago. My recovery took about six weeks, and my playing recovered to about 99.99%. I'm talking physical ability, note choice and taste are an entirely different thing altogether! :D

    Since then, the same finger is starting to contract yet again. I saw another hand surgeon last week. He measured the contracture and it's about 20% at present. He told me that I shouldn't consider doing anything about it until it gets to 30%. The incidence of recurrence is pretty high with this disease. There is an alternative to surgery. A relatively new treatment involves injecting an enzyme into the affected area. This softens the scar tissue and allows the physician to manipulate the contracture. I may go that route next time.

    One other thing, since my surgery I developed a patch of tissue on my left palm over the last year or so. The funny thing is, so did my mother! They look like a mirror image of each other! She's 79 and I'm 54. Definitely hereditary!

    I started a thread about this back when I first had the surgery. I can't find it, so it may have been removed.
  8. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    I had considered surgery, but my research backed up what you said, i.e. recurrence is high. So I decided to leave well enough alone for now. Two years seems a small amount of time, before more surgery is required. :meh:

    I have read about the alternative treatment of injecting an enzyme. It is not available here in Ireland and besides, it is supposed to have side effects.
  9. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
    Back when I had the surgery, the enzyme approach was relatively new. My surgeon at the time didn't have much confidence in it. He has since retired.

    Here is a link to the doc I saw last week. Check out the short video. He talks a bit about the disease... (Edit: skip to the two-minute mark).


    FWIW, I see that you are from Ireland. So were my ancestors. My last name is O'Connell. Maybe that has something to do with it? :atoz:
  10. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
    One additional thought... I'd never heard of this condition until I was diagnosed. When I saw Dr. Akleman last week, he told me that he sees so many people with it that he could easily spend 100% of his time devoted to treating it.
  11. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Yeah ! Ireland and the Irish have a lot to answer for ! :D

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