Football Legend John Elway Reveals He has Dupuytren’s Contracture and Wants Others to Get the “Facts on Hand”

Dupuytren’s contracture is a progressive hand condition that affects an estimated 16 million Americans. It is characterized by a buildup of collagen underneath the skin on the palms of the hand, causing one or more fingers to move into a bent position so they cannot be straightened. Because the condition can progress slowly, people may not pay attention to it until they can no longer straighten their fingers, complicating everyday activities – from writing one’s name to shaking hands.

“My hands are everything to me, but when I was diagnosed with Dupuytren’s contracture nearly 15 years ago, I waited to get treatment because I assumed surgery was my only option,” said Elway. “I’ve joined the Facts on Hand campaign not only to raise awareness about Dupuytren’s contracture by sharing my story, but to spread the word about available treatments. Some people also mistakenly believe that surgery is their only option – but that may not be true. That’s why it’s so important to have a conversation with a hand specialist.”

Dupuytren’s contracture can be mistaken for other conditions such as arthritis or trigger finger. Prior to the formation of a contracture, individuals may start to notice symptoms through the development of a lump or nodule on the palm. The condition most commonly impacts the ring and pinky finger and can occur in one or both hands.

“There is still so little awareness about Dupuytren’s contracture, even among doctors,” said Damon Adamany, MD, board-certified specialist in hand and upper extremity surgery at The CORE Institute. “It’s important that those experiencing the condition know their treatment options. Surgery is not the only option, and patients should work together with their hand specialist to determine the best approach for their lifestyle, whether they’re a football star or a weekend warrior.”

Typically, men are affected by Dupuytren’s contracture more often than women. The condition usually appears later in life in people over age 40, although it may occur in people who are in their early 20s.

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