This mysterious malady often starts with a small, tender lump in
the palm of your hand and can lead to finger deformity. According to research or other
evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful:
- Try vitamin E
- Take 200 to 1,000 IU of vitamin E a day for several months to help
treat Dupuytren's contracture
- Discover DMSO
- Under a healthcare provider’s supervision, apply this
solvent to the skin several times daily to help control pain and soften connective
These recommendations are not comprehensive and are not intended to replace
the advice of your doctor or pharmacist. Continue reading the full Dupuytren’s
contracture article for more in-depth, fully-referenced information on medicines, vitamins,
herbs, and dietary and lifestyle changes that may be helpful.
About Dupuytren’s contracture
In Dupuytren’s contracture, a fibrous tissue formation occurs in the palm of the hand
that can cause the last two fingers to curl up.
The origin of this condition is not well understood.
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What are the symptoms?
Dupuytren’s contracture is initially noticed as a tender, small, hardened nodule on
the palm of the hand. As it progresses, a cordlike band develops along the palm and finger,
which causes the affected finger to stay in a semi-closed position.
Corticosteroid injections such as methyprednisolone (Depo-Medrol) are commonly used.
Advanced contractures are treated with surgery; however, the recurrence rate is relatively
high. Severe cases might require amputation of the affected finger.
Vitamins that may be helpful
Many decades ago, researchers investigated the effects of taking vitamin E to treat Dupuytren’s contracture.
Several studies reported that taking 200–2,000 IU of vitamin E per day for several
months was helpful.1 Other studies, however, did not find it useful.2
Overall, there are more positive trials than negative ones,3 although none of the
published research is recent. Nonetheless, some doctors believe that a three-month trial using
very high amounts of vitamin E (2,000 IU per day) is helpful in some cases.
DMSO applied to the affected area may
reduce pain by inhibiting transmission of pain messages, and may also soften the abnormal
connective tissue associated with disorders such as Dupuytren’s contracture, keloids,
Peyronie’s disease, and scleroderma. Research on the use of topical DMSO to treat
Dupuytren’s contracture remains preliminary and unproven.4
Are there any side effects or interactions?
Refer to the individual supplement for information about any side effects or interactions.
1. Thomson GR. Treatment of Dupuytren’s contracture with vitamin E.
BMJ 1949;Dec 17:1382–3.
2. Richards HJ. Dupuytren’s contracture treated with vitamin E.
BMJ 1952;June 21:1328.
3. Kirk JE, Chieffi M. Tocopherol administration to patients with
Dupuytren’s contracture: effect on plasma tocopherol levels and degree of contracture.
Pro Soc Exp Biol Med 1952;80:565 [review].
4. Jacob SW, Wood DC. Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). Toxicology,
pharmacology, and clinical experience. Am J Surg 1967;114:414–26.