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What Is Viking Syndrome? A Go-to Guide to Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Dupuytren’s Contracture or Viking Syndrome is a medical condition that causes hand deformity. It occurs very slowly as soft tissues under the skin start to thicken. As a result, the fingers of the person start to bend towards the palm because of the knot formation. The most affected fingers are generally the middle, ring finger, and pinkie. While the index is affected too, the disease hardly spreads through the thumbs. And while some people suffer from this condition in both hands, it generally affects one hand more prominently than the other.

When the Viking’s disease symptoms get severe, it significantly restricts the ability to perform activities in the daily life of a person, such as personal sanitation, holding items, and working with their hands.

Why is Dupuytren’s Contracture Called Viking Disease?

Dupuytren’s Contracture or Viking Syndrome is also known as Viking’s Disease. This nickname comes from oral history tracking back to the Vikings. Tradition says that they had spread it all over northern Europe.

The first person to treat a patient with this condition was Dr. Guillaume Dupuytren. He was believed to be one of the most known surgeons in Europe, and after publishing a detailed research paper on this condition, Viking’s Disease was named after him.

What Causes Viking’s Disease?

Now that we know what Viking syndrome is, let us move forward to the cause of this condition. Node formation of the connective tissues in the palm causes Viking’s disease. The tissues are formed between the skin and the muscles of the palm. The connective tissue grows as a band, pulling the affected fingers in a bent position towards the palm.

Factors that cause such irregular node formation of connective tissues are unknown. Though this condition is hereditary, it is believed that genetics play the main role in the cause of this disease. It is common in people coming from North Europe. Many scholars believe that the trauma or injury in the palm can also lead to abnormal node formation in the connective tissues. No relation between the factors like the intensive manual work, typing job, or use of vibrating tools and development of this condition has been found so far.

What are the Symptoms of Dupuytren’s Contracture?

Viking’s disease symptoms appear slowly and in phases. The different stages of development of this disease are as below:

Nodules: Small lump of mass appears on the upper layer of the palm. At first, these lumps are sore to the touch, but the soreness typically goes away as the disease progress.

Bands of tissues/ Cord: The nodules start to get thick and then contract, forming the bands of tissue, known as cords. These hard bands exist under the skin and are observed as thick and raised coatings.

Curled fingers: One or more finger starts to bend towards the palm. Over time, it develops more and causes difficulty when trying to uncurl the fingers. The condition usually affects the ring finger first, then the little finger, and then the middle finger. In rare cases, it affects all the fingers together with the thumb.

Treatment

There is no specific cure for Dupuytren’s Contracture, but the condition is not linked to mortality.

Although it differs from patient to patient, Dupuytren’s generally develops slowly and may not become bothersome for years.

If the disease develops, your doctor first will recommend a nonsurgical treatment to help slow down the development or consequences of this disease.

Nonsurgical treatment

Dupuytren’s Wand: Using the Dupuytren’s Wand followed by wearing Dupuytren’s tape provides a consistent and comfortable stretch to the finger that helps to slowly restore the range of motion.

Steroid injection. Steroids that are injected are powerful anti-inflammatory medicines. In many cases, the injection slows the development of a contracture. The success of a steroid injection differs from patient to patient.

If the disease interferes with hand movement, your doctor will recommend surgical treatment. This surgery aims to decrease the Contracture and bring back the motion in the affected fingers.

Now you have detailed information on what is Viking’s disease, its causes, symptoms, and treatment options; the next step is to speak with your physician.

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How did Dupuytren’s contracture get its name?

Dupuytren’s, pronounced doop-a-trons, is a disorder that causes the formation of an inflammatory nodule that makes your finger contract down toward the palm. The condition was named after the scientist who first studied it.

Viking’s Disease 

The disorder originated with the Vikings in Scandinavia, in countries like Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, who began conquering foreign lands and settled in Scotland for a duration of about 500 years. The Vikings caused Dupuytren’s to become established in Scotland, where it is still found within the Scottish population. 

THE BARON GUILLAUME DUPUYTREN

Dr. Guillaume Dupuytren was a famous military surgeon and French anatomist who is known for his description of Dupuytren’s contracture. The disorder was named after him because he was the first who operated on this disease in 1831. He later gave a lecture on permanent retractions of flexed fingers and published in detail about it in “The Lancet” in 1834.

Dupuytren’s name has been applied to at least 12 different fractures, multiple minor diseases, operations, and instruments. Guillaume Dupuytren is acknowledged as the greatest French surgeon and an ambitious man. 

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Can we call Dupuytrens an autoimmune disease?

With a name like that, I’m pretty sure people find it confusing enough as it is. This disease has been affecting people for a long time, and the fact that not enough research has been done on the causes and how to cure it doesn’t help. Therefore, it’s better to have guidance and give you a better understanding of Dupuytrens contracture.

 

What is Dupuytrens Disease?

 

Dupuytren’s disease, also known as Vikings disease, is a medical condition that has been affecting people for a while now. However, it is not that well known and affects a small percentage of patients globally. The condition affects the hand and causes thickness and tightness of skin underneath the palm, which further leads to the development of a cord. 

This cord eventually has a significant effect on the fingers furthest away from the thumb, which pulls them back and can lock the fingers. The disease is a chronic fibrotic condition that usually affects the skin underneath the palms, which eventually leads to the formation of knots, nodules, and cords.

What is Autoimmune Disease?

A disease in which the immune system unintentionally attacks your body is an autoimmune disease. Normally, the immune system protects against germs such as bacteria and viruses.  There are more than 80 types of autoimmune disorders.

There is no exact cause of autoimmune disorders, But one theory says that some microorganisms (bacteria or viruses) or drugs may cause changes and can confuse the immune system. This may happen to individuals that have genes that make them more vulnerable to autoimmune disorders.

Is Dupuytren’s Disease an Autoimmune Disease?

Although the exact reason behind this Dupuytren’s disease is not found yet, genetic factors are commonly considered behind this medical condition which has been found in various medical researches based on this disease. 

Now you know that Dupuytren’s disease is a chronic fibrotic condition, but is Dupuytrens disease an autoimmune disease? According to scientists, the disease may be initiated by four gene mutations in a stem cell or a lymphoid stem, of which the fourth formation leads to a forbidden clone being formed of lymphocytes. 

 

Even though there is a lack of peer-reviewed evidence, it has been determined by some scientists that the forbidden lymphocytes may result in proliferating fibroblasts, which may eventually lead to Dupuytrens disease. 

 

However, we still haven’t found the root cause of Dupuytrens, and even though at times it may seem like an infection, it isn’t exactly an autoimmune infection. Yes, the immune system is involved, but it affects the connective tissues and is known as a rheumatic disease.

 

What is the Best Treatment for  Dupuytren’s Disease?

 

Dupuytren’s Contracture has a number of treatments available. Surgery is the most common type of treatment. Unfortunately, it is not guaranteed that the surgery will cure the disease and it will often come back. The procedure leaves an unsightly scar, and if the wound doesn’t heal up properly, the patient is at risk of infection.

 

If you are looking for non-surgical and home treatments for Dupuytren’s Contracture, the good news is there are several available. The best of those is the Dupuytrens wand. The Dupuytrens wand uses the latest medical technology to penetrate the skin and break up the hardened tissue in the hand without causing any side effects. The tissue being broken up allows the finger to be straightened; the patient then applies the Dupuytrens tape, which is a far better option than any splint or brace. The tape will keep the finger in a position that encourages blood circulation, which will speed up the recovery process.