Well that’s… interesting

Posted: September 21, 2009 in Uncategorized

I’ve had a lump developing in my palm for a while now, and at first I thought it was just an inflammation of a tendon from climbing, but it’s not only lasted a while, but it’s gotten bigger and a bit sore. So to make sure I wasn’t setting myself up for possible problems during my trip, I decided to have it looked at, expecting at worst to have to get some sort of treatment when I came back.

Well, as it turns out, I have a rather odd condition called Dupuytren’s Contracture (pronounced “doop-a-tron”, which is awesome), the cause of which is only broadly guessed at. On the upside, even the worst-case scenario looks worse than it is; the doc said it’s never been shown to be caused by climbing, and it shouldn’t prevent me from doing much of anything I want to, including climbing. The worst of it is just that I’ll have a sore spot on my palm and that my finger may get bent over more and more to the point that I don’t actually have to do anything to crimp a hold, and even then I can get it fixed surgically.

So, nothing huge, but a little disconcerting. Getting older sucks.

EDIT: This article from the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows indications of climbing accelerating occurences of Dupuytren’s, but not causing it outright. Discussions in the climbing community are about as vague and varied with experiences, so really, the whole thing is just a big, fairly innocuous question mark. Which is really what I expect with most orthopedic medicine these days.

EDIT 2: As it turns out, this may also explain the slight shoulder soreness I’ve been feeling over roughly the same period of time when my arm is raised over my head in a certain position. Guess I’ll have the shoulder checked out when I get back.

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Comments
  1. muffster says:

    NNNNOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    sounds weird. and kinda oweey. i am really glad it isn’t anything worse. xooxox

  2. Anonymous says:

    NNNNOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    sounds weird. and kinda oweey. i am really glad it isn’t anything worse. xooxox

  3. muffster says:

    okay i don’t like the shoulder thingy. keep me in the loop as far as what they doc say. I am a little worried. I am curious what they have to say about climbing bringing on the disease at an earlier age… TAKE CARE OF YOU!

    • Reuben says:

      Ya, the shoulder thing is probably more of a worry than the hand, but we’ll see. So far neither one has kept me back, and the shoulder only really bugs me when I try to sleep with my head on my arms.

  4. Anonymous says:

    okay i don’t like the shoulder thingy. keep me in the loop as far as what they doc say. I am a little worried. I am curious what they have to say about climbing bringing on the disease at an earlier age… TAKE CARE OF YOU!

    • Anonymous says:

      Ya, the shoulder thing is probably more of a worry than the hand, but we’ll see. So far neither one has kept me back, and the shoulder only really bugs me when I try to sleep with my head on my arms.

  5. Anonymous says:

    okay, the doc weighs in…..what kind of shoulder pain? It might be a rotator cuff. Mostly Dupuytren’s happens in the hands, or Ledderhose (don’t you love it?) in the feet. This is more of a concern than you seem to think. You need to keep your hands flexing and think about some therapies to keep it from getting worse. When you get back from Europe, get a second opinion,and ask them to check for a rotator injury. And ask about physical therapy for Dupuytren’s (besides climbing). Sometimes cortisone injections help. This isn’t a SERIOUS disease–but it CAN screw up your hand so that you can’t use it well. I suspect it’s exacerbated by your profession–having your hands curled around a keyboard 24/7. But that’s not necessarily born out by research (or that I’ve read.) So hyperextend your fingers a lot–keep them moving in the opposite direction that they move now. And be careful with your backpack–if it is indeed a rotator cuff, you can make it worse by slinging it onto your back with that arm. Go easy. And enjoy Oktoberfest!

  6. Anonymous says:

    okay, the doc weighs in…..what kind of shoulder pain? It might be a rotator cuff. Mostly Dupuytren’s happens in the hands, or Ledderhose (don’t you love it?) in the feet. This is more of a concern than you seem to think. You need to keep your hands flexing and think about some therapies to keep it from getting worse. When you get back from Europe, get a second opinion,and ask them to check for a rotator injury. And ask about physical therapy for Dupuytren’s (besides climbing). Sometimes cortisone injections help. This isn’t a SERIOUS disease–but it CAN screw up your hand so that you can’t use it well. I suspect it’s exacerbated by your profession–having your hands curled around a keyboard 24/7. But that’s not necessarily born out by research (or that I’ve read.) So hyperextend your fingers a lot–keep them moving in the opposite direction that they move now. And be careful with your backpack–if it is indeed a rotator cuff, you can make it worse by slinging it onto your back with that arm. Go easy. And enjoy Oktoberfest!

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