Two things are needed for people dealing with Dupuytren’s: a way to reverse or restore fingers back to their natural state and a way to prevent progression/recurrence. For the former, progress is being made; the latter remains the elusive goal of a cure. Dupuytren’s is a shrinking process. The ideal treatment would be to reverse this: a growing process. Technically, this can be done by slowly stretching the tissues with a mechanical device: tissue growth can be initiated and guided by specific mechanical forces. The Digit Widget is the device most most frequently used to stretch and straighten proximal interphalangeal joint contractures due to Dupuytren’s. The technical manual for this, “Reversing PIP Joint Contractures: Applicability of the Digit Widget External Fixation System” (full text: http://www.dupuytrenfoundation.org/DupPDFs/2002_Agee.pdf) shows how the complicated and precise anatomy of the proximal interphalangeal joint makes this a formidable undertaking. As tricky as this is, it still pales in comparison to the hurdles of molecular biology which must be achieved to find a cure.
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