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Is there a connection?

I was diagnosed with Dupuytren’s contracture ten years ago. I have it in both my hands and my feet. I also have Celiac disease and have always wondered if the two were related. There’s no sound research indicating comorbidity, but since both are immune mediated, I’m thinking they might be kindred spirits. Comorbidity is the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases in the same person.

Would you, my bright and nerdy readers, help me do an (un)scientific and peer reviewed (that would be you) study? Having a blog allows for some creative crowd-sourcing, so if you’ll play along, we might be able to pull off an interesting randomized (literally) study on the possible connection between the two autoimmune diseases. But, let’s do this right. Humor me while I switch from gluten-free nutrition blogger to medical researcher.

Celiac disease and Dupuytren’s contracture: are they related?
Jory MM, et al. (et al. refers to all of you)
Research study in progress


Objective: To determine if Celiac disease and Dupuytren’s contracture share common pathophysiological origins and/or genetic associations.
Method: To elicit a response in the comment section from blog readers who have both Celiac disease and Dupuytren’s contracture. People who have Celiac disease and/or Type 1 diabetes should also respond in the comment section. Any combination of the three diseases mentioned, or the suspicion of a combination should be noted.
Conclusion: Pending
Key words: Celiac disease, Dupruytren’s contracture, Type 1 diabetes, autoimmunity, gluten, genetics.


Celiac disease is a genetically predisposed digestive disease in which gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, causes an immune reaction that damages to the lining of the small intestine. The resulting inability to properly digest (breakdown) and absorb food leads to nutrient deficiencies and a multitude of health issues. The comorbidity between Celiac disease and other autoimmune disorders has been studied extensively and clearly established. According to several research studies, Celiac disease and Type 1 diabetes share common genetic origins and immune mediated tissue damage. Dietary intolerances are found in both diseases. The prevalence of Celiac disease in people who have Type 1 diabetes is about seven times greater than in the general population.

Dupruytren’s contracture is a disease that typically affects the connective tissue in the palm of the hand, although it can also impact the feet. Scarring develops in the fascia covering the tendons that facilitate movement. The fascia becomes thick and shortened, causing the fingers to contract and pull inward. In advances cases, the muscles and tendons involved in gripping become “frozen” and unable to extend. The disease progresses until the fourth (ring) and fifth fingers remain in a permanent flexed position and a loss of mobility occurs. In more extreme cases, all fingers can be implicated. The frequency of Dupuytren’s contracture is ten times greater in people with type 1 diabetes than in the general population.

The main objective of this (un)scientific, blog-sourced study is to determine a relationship between Celiac disease and Dupuytren’s contracture. If there is a genetic and food-related link between Celiac disease and Type 1 diabetes and a genetic link between Type 1 diabetes and Dupuytren’s, could gluten and specific gene markers play a role in all three conditions? Is there a comorbidity between Celiac disease and Dupuytren’s contracture? Should people diagnosed with Dupuytren’s contracture be screened for Celiac disease? Should people with Dupuytren’s contracture go on an anti-inflammatory, gluten-free diet?

Do you have Celiac disease? Do you have Dupuytren’s contracture? Do you have Type 1 diabetes? Do you have any combination of the above? Please leave your answer in the comment section of this blog post. If you don’t want your name associated with your answer, please comment anonymously. Thank you!

Let’s see what we can come up with. Scientifically speaking, although loosely so.

Peace, love and science blogging.
P.S. I chose the above photo because it implied a warm connection between people (all of us) and the image of contracted ring and pinky fingers is exactly what Dupuytren’s contracture looks like.

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95 Responses to “Celiac disease and Dupuytren’s contracture”

  1. maggie says:

    I found your article very interesting. I also often wonder about how many connections in the body are affected by autoimmune diseases. I have Lupus and DD. My daughter has been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. Both my husband’s family and mine are loaded with allergies. I feel there must be a link between DD and autoimmune diseases, although I have not come across a definitive answer in my research. Look forward to following this blog.

  2. Lizzie says:

    I have Dupytren’s, it affects the little finger on my left hand. I have had it for a few years but it is getting worse. I was diagnosed with Graves Disease in November 2013 and I’d be very interested to know if there is a connection between Dupytren’s and thyroid problems.

    I also have asthma and Irritable Bowel, I until my thyroid was treated I had dreadful sinusitis so it looks like I have a few allergic conditions.

    I notice the back of my hand has now become more ’rounded /curved’ too and I am sure that is because of the Dupytren’s.

    I haven’t had anything done about it, I thought about needle ablation for a while but think I have probably left it too late, I am not keen to have the operation as someone I know has had it done twice and his ring finger is quite bent again.

  3. Dale Almond says:

    I have celiac disease. I believe I have had it my whole life, but was not diagnosed until I was 52. I am now 62, and have a whole host of problems triggered by a lifetime of eating wheat and other grains. I figured out just today that I have Dupuyten’s contracture. I learned that my brother was diagnosed with it; went online and thoroughly researched it, including images and watching the surgeries on Youtube. This explains the odd lump on my palm….which my doctor looked at and, knowing that my rheumatoid factor is slightly elevated, said it might be an sign of early RA, but she really wasn’t sure. I am sure now that it is definitely Dupuytren’s. My grandfather had it as well.

    I am also of Scandinavian descent. As you may know, both celiac and Depuytren’s are pretty rampant in this lineage.
    The painful lump appeared suddenly last year about a month after a severe gluten exposure, after having been lied to in a restaurant. I had several other very painful and disturbing symptoms caused by getting glutened, and out of desperation went on a 100% strict paleo diet – only grass-fed meat, non-nightshade organic vegetables, and organic, low-acid fruit. Nothing else. I can’t say it solved all my problems, because I was diagnosed with a few surprises in the interim, but I can say that the diet halted the Dupuytren’s in its tracks. The lump has not gone down, but it has not worsened and it is no longer painful. 99% of the time I do not even realize it is there. I hope that others will consider dietary changes, even if they can’t do it 100%, before submitting to toxic medicines and risky surgeries.

  4. JB says:

    I have an allergic reaction to gluten, that manifests itself as hay fever type allergies whenever I have any significant (more than a serving/day) gluten in my diet. I noticed the connection about 15 years ago while briefly trying the Atkins diet. More recently, I have gone from the standard American diet to a Paleo (Primal Blueprint) diet that I’ve been on for over 4 years. During this last 4 years I developed a fairly rapidly progressing case of Dupuytren’s contracture. I’m not sure whether this support’s the hypothesis of a link between gluten intolerance and Dupuytren’s or contradicts it. The symptoms appeared and progressed rapidly during a time with a largely (less than 1 serving/week) gluten free diet. I had both hands surgically repaired in Houston using percutaneous aponeurotomy. I had surgery on Monday, and played golf on Saturday. I highly recommend this approach to treating the disease. I also do frequent daily stretching of the hands, and use a small device that clamps onto my pinkie finger and forces the finger into a straightened position. It’s not comfortable, but it does work.

  5. kw says:

    My mother, daughter and I have celiac disease. My mother has Dupuytren’s.

  6. Kay Chidgey says:

    I have been on a gluten free diet for over a month. The two nodules in my right hand have decreased by half their size and are not painful anymore.

  7. Sam says:

    I have had Dupyutren’s contracture for a few years and last month I decided it was time to go for palmar fasciectomy. Things went fine and I am still recovering, but I am on the right path.

  8. gg says:

    I have dupuytrens in both hands and both feet that has really accelerated in the last three years. I was recently diagnosed with severe gluten and soy allergies and have been told to stay completely clear of not only those two items, but corn and sugar as well due to high sugar ( borderline diabetes ) levels and severe inflammation. I have noticed any gluten or wine makes the dupuytrens flare and my joints ( hips, legs, etc.) become extremely sore. My mother has it in her hands as well.

  9. Richard says:

    with thatI am now 72. About 10 years ago, I discovered what I had on my right hand was Dupuytren’s contracture. About the same time I talked to a Doctor who connected my gluten intolerance with it. At the time there was little knowledge about either one. I did intense research and found there was a needle procedure to correct the Dupuytren’s. I had the procedure done and was very satisfied with the results, which required no invasive surgery. The symptoms of the finger have returned, but it is only progressing slowly, and I do some pressing together of the hands to, I think, keep the ring finger on the right hand from contracting. I still play guitar hand, and have no hint of contracture on the left hand. I do not have diabetes, but I have some mild peripheral neuropathy in my legs, which is often associated with diabetes. I asked the neurologist when finding out about his diagnosis: “What, then, do you think has caused the neuropathy?” He said my Celiac condition seemed to be the only cause he could think of. So, I daily do exercises and keep away from Gluten in my diet, and take no medications or special vitamins.

  10. Wendy says:

    I am 54 years old,and I have had dupyutren’s in my left hand for about 9 years. I do not have diabetes or celiac disease. I had surgery on my little finger and palm last September, followed by physio to get my finger moving again. My finger is still bent, but much improved. I use a splint at night, about twice a week. I have painful nodules in my hand, which seem to be getting worse. I am trying a non gluten diet, but it’s early days.

  11. Charles says:

    I am 57, I have Graves Disease and Dupuytren’s and trigger finger. I’ve had radioactive iodine for Graves. Am on thyroxine daily and about to have surgery for the fingers. I’ve just read about the gluten intolerance so its now out of the diet. Thank you.

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