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

  1. Jennifer says:

    I am gluten intolerant (EnteroLab test) but did not chose to further test to see if I am Celiac. About a month ago I started noticing that a couple of fingers in my hand felt as if they were being pulled in. It only lasted a couple of days and then switched to the other hand and then finally went away for now. I’d been wondering what that was. Maybe it was the beginning of what you are talking about.

    • Melissa says:

      Jennifer – thank you for commenting. Dupuytren’s starts (at least mine did) with a little nodule-type thing right where my ring finger and palm meet (on the palm side). I started noticing it when I’d drive and have my hand wrapped around the steering wheel. I ignored it for a while, then it appeared on the other hand. A month or so later, it was obvious that something weird was going on. You could actually see the thickening in my palm. The tendons in my ring and pinkly were getting thicker and pulled in a tiny bit. Not major and it didn’t really hurt, but there was evidence that something was amiss. I went to a hand specialist and he checked me out, took xrays and diagnosed me with Dupuytren’s. A year or so later, it started appearing in my feet. Not nearly as bad, but the nodules and thickening are there. The doc told me there was nothing I could do except wait until it got so bad I needed surgery. Well, I decided to take the matter into my own hands (pun intended) and I started a serious yoga practice. Right around that time, I was (convolutedly) diagnosed with Celiac disease, so I also went on a gluten-free diet. I believe all of that helped my hands (GF diet and yoga).

      Keep an eye on your hands. The genetic piece to all this is complicated and there is definitely a genetic piece to being gluten sensitive, we just don’t have all the details yet. Research is ongoing.

      Take care!

  2. david says:

    Dupuytren’s mild in left hand
    DQ2 and DQ8

  3. Wanda says:

    I think there is a direct connection between gluten intolerance/Celiac and other diseases. I have Hashimoto’s Disease, an auto-immune disease of the thyroid.
    Please go to this site and watch the scientific reasons for the connection. It has helped me gain a better understanding of the havoc that gluten causes in our bodies. Please take the time to view this tutorial:

    I hope you find this helpful.
    Warm Regards!

    • Melissa says:

      Thank you for your comment and the link, Wanda. I’m familiar with the connection between autoimmune thyroid and Celiac. There are SO many connections between various autoimmune diseases, neurological disorders and gluten. Often, when you have one autoimmune disease, it creates a cascade of others. It’s so important to be vigilant about the GF diet and to eat nutrient-dense, whole foods to combat the inflammation. I’ve seen the GF society tutorial, but am glad you left the link for others. I appreciate it!

  4. shannon says:

    Thanks for the heads up as to the connection between the two. I have only just been told of a gluten intolerance by a naturopathic doctor and have not had the biopsy or blood test yet. However, since restricting my self to no gluten foods I have noticed a distinct improvement overall. I also have Dupuytren’s syndrome in my right hand. Interesting that there may be a connection. I’d like to hear the results of your study.

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks so much for adding to the conversation, Shannon. Interesting that you have Dupuytren’s and gluten intolerance (Celiac or some version of the gluten syndrome). This isn’t a very scientific study, but I do hope to get a good sampling of people to weigh in. Yoga and a GF, whole foods diet has really helped me with both conditions. I feel it in my hands when I don’t go to yoga for several days, get unintentionally zapped with gluten cooties, or when I slip on eating a REALLY clean diet. Glad you’re finding an improvement by eliminating gluten from your diet. That’s good news!

  5. Jean says:

    I have celiac (biopsy in 1993), am hypothyroid since puberty, have had inflamed gums for 5 + years and have needed allergy shots multiple times. Another possible connection I’ve read is too-early introduction of food – I was fed wheat, milk and citrus at one week old and not breast-fed. Good luck with your research!

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks, Jean! You’re so right about the “too early” introduction to food, especially gluten and dairy. An infant’s system needs breast milk for a variety of reasons, but breaking down those complex proteins in wheat and dairy are SO difficult, especially for a newborn. A whole foods, anit-inflammatory diet would be especially good for someone like you. I used to get allergy shots when I was young. I had terrible allergies and they have all subsided once I went gluten-free. It took quite a long time, but with a clean diet and no gluten or dairy, I’m totally allergy free. I do eat dairy on occasion and it causes a flair up of allergy symptoms. Not bad, but I can connect it to eating dairy. And good luck with your health!

  6. Gordon W Ellis says:

    I have Dupuytren’s Contracture in the pinky finger of both hands. I feel the contracture and see the lumpy thickening in both tendons. I read an article on Celiac about 6 months ago and it seemed I should try to get off or limit my exposure to gluten. I have, and feel a general lift in my health and clarity of mind.

    • Melissa says:


      Dupuytren’s is more common in men and I suspect that men don’t seek out medical care (as far as gluten induced symptoms go) as often as women. I’m just wondering if there is a Celiac/Dupuytren’s genetic connection. Is the contracture in your fingers getting worse? I have that thickening that you’re describing and I can definitely see it, but my committed yoga practice has kept it from being a problem. Gluten is a neurotoxin and your general feeling of more clarity of mind makes perfect sense. You might consider being tested for Celiac as you really do want to know if you have an intolerance. Limiting your exposure is not good enough if you have Celiac. It takes next to nothing (1/8th of a teaspoon of cake) to set of the autoimmune response that impacts all systems in the body. Take care and wishing you good health! Thanks for commenting.

  7. Kelly says:

    I only have celiac.

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks, Kelly. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Here’s to good health with “only” having Celiac. =) Wishing you nothing more!

  8. Celiac but not Dupuytren’s, thank goodness. Is Dupuytren’s linked with Raynaud’s? I remember us having a conversation about Raynaud’s years ago.

  9. Celiac, not Dupuytren’s, thank goodness. Is Dupuytren’s linked to Raynaud’s? I remember we had a conversation about Raynaud’s years ago.

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks for commenting! I don’t know that Dupuytren’s is linked to Raynaud’s, but I’ve heard of Raynaud’s linked to Celiac. There are so many conditions linked to one another when it comes to autoimmunity. Hope all is well with you and that you’re healthy and thriving!

  10. Maya says:

    I have celiacs. Years ago I got a nodule at the base of my right ring finger. I could pull my fingers back and the nodule would push out and stretch the skin white. I never showed it to a doctor and at some point the nodule went away. I have problem with the ring and pinky fingers on both hands, but I attribute it to too much typing. I have never mentioned it to any medical professional and never thought to. I’m posting because my mother follows your blog and sent me this link.

    • Melissa says:


      First off, tell your mom I appreciate her following my blog! Second, I’m glad she sent you my way. Those symptoms (and signs) in your fingers sound suspiciously like Dupuytren’s, although I’m not a doctor and am obviously not suggesting you have it. Just that it sounds suspiciously similar. My ring and pinky fingers get progressively stiffer if I don’t go to yoga. I really work them and stretch my hands with yoga. I type too much as well! That probably contributes. Either way, a healthy diet and exercise helps. Thanks!

  11. Nadya says:

    Two notes on this: Dr Jonathan Wright, MD (nutritionally oriented!) has an article on D. Contractures & iodine: – & there is often a link between low thyroid & celiac!! So I would suspect that’s one of the links. Note he also suggests rubbing Vitamin E in – be sure it’s not a wheat germ based Vit E – AND celiac interferes with uptake of fat soluable nutrients!

    I have two former sis-in laws who were diagnosed with Raynaud’s YEARS ago, & finally both were diagnosed with celiac about 1 1/2 years ago!!

  12. Nadya says:

    By the way, Dr W also ‘believes in’ non-celiac gluten sensitivty!! Note this testimonial … he wrote for Prevention Mag in the 70s, & a couple of his articles helped me when I had a similar health problem! Iodine helped the first – pre menstrual breast tenderness, & a combo of sublingual B-12 & antioxidents the second – bursitis! Bless Dr Wright for being one of the MDs who has ALWAYS felt food & optimum nutrition could ‘solve’ many health problems! His practice is in Washington, & his office was raided in the early 90s by th FDA, for his ‘non-AMA’ beliefs!

    • Melissa says:

      Yes, I agree with a non-celiac gluten sensitivity as well. In fact, many of the top celiac docs are now agreeing with that premise. Too many people test negative for celiac disease, but respond will to the GF diet. Plus, there are so many gene markers that apply to autoimmunity that we aren’t familiar with yet. AND, proteins we don’t test for as well. There are SO many variables – diagnosis for gluten sensitivity is complicated.

      Thanks for the links, Nadya. You’re always a good source!

  13. Teresa says:

    I am gluten intolerant (Celiac test came back negative, but I definitely react to gluten!), borderline Type II diabetic, and have two nodules that I believe are the early stages of Dupuytrens Contracture. I also have fibromyalgia/chronic pain.

    My father has DC bad in both hands but is definitely not gluten intolerant and only in his 70’s was diagnosed as Type II diabetic. Don’t know if any of this helps your research, but here it is.

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I find this so fascinating and the more I learn from others, the more I think many of these autoimmune conditions are connected in some way. Take up yoga for your DC. If you can find a good therapeutic or restorative class, it will help with all your conditions. I notice a change in my hands (stiffness) when I miss yoga class for several days. It’s made a huge difference in the progression of the disease for me.
      Good luck!

  14. caroll says:

    it may be help full it people included age i am now 70{+
    i have not been to a Dr. for 10 years or more german parents
    meat and potatoes . very little bread in my history untill i had sour dough
    three months ago in no time i was eating almost only that bread /with lots of butter after 3 months of this i was feeling bad very bad . my gradnson said to google gluten. and stop bread and eat meat and vegies.
    i did in about a week i felt better much better i started getting salads and radishes soon eating a lot of radishes .big red ones i got a lot better i googled radish and found the links to iodine and this web site.
    also a //DR, appointment
    i do have the hands and feet thing for about a year off and on
    my whole body did retain water also
    this may not relate to your test but thought i would join in
    this kind of like giving one another a big hug

    • Melissa says:


      Thank you for your information. Very good point about adding age to the mix. I should have done that in the beginning! And yes, it’s like giving one another a big hug! I appreciate your input. Interesting about the radishes. You have a smart grandson.

  15. Hi Melissa–The only thing I can offer on this topic is that my mom’s side of the family is like the family tree of gluten issues. Mom has tested gluten sensitive, but never been tested for celiac. The same is true of her sister (my aunt) and her daughter (my cousin). Mom has seven sisters and two brothers. One of her brothers was diagnosed with DC about a year ago.

    Hope you continue to get more feedback! xo,

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks, Shirley. I appreciate your input. The list of conditions that are, or could be, linked to gluten is amazing. I do think DC is connected in some way. At least for those of us who are genetically predisposed. The cascade of autoimmune comorbidity is really interesting. Wow, EIGHT girls in one family?! I bet dinner was noisy at that house. =)

  16. Trish says:

    I have Celiac Disease, Dermatitis Herpetiformis, Dupuytren’s Contracture-worse in hands than feet, Hypothyroidism, and follow a gluten-free/casein-free/soy-free diet. Happy to see I’m not alone with these autoimmune issues…I seem to be the only person in my family affected by these disorders :/

    • Melissa says:

      Trish, I have DH and Dupuytren’s as well (worse in hands than feed). I keep tabs on my thyroid numbers and worry about hypothyroidism. We sound similar. =) Thanks for commenting. Interesting connections!

  17. leiloni says:

    Good article I really enjoyed reading it!

  18. Joan says:

    I am gluten intolerant, and am in my 5th year of being gluten-free. About 5 years ago, I had surgery on my left hand to relieve Dupuytren’s Contracture because the little finger was curling. I now have lumps on my right palm, below the ring finger and the middle finger. So far, the fingers are not curling, so I am waiting re the surgery. However, if I hit the lumps the wrong way, they hurt.

    • Melissa says:


      Take up yoga! Seriously. It has helped me tremendously. I take a warm class that’s fairly vigorous. When I miss a week of class for one reason or another, I feel the stiffness returning to my hands. Yoga is my medicine! Thanks for taking the time to share your information. I do appreciate it.

  19. nicole says:

    I am gluten intolerant (2 genes) with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Leaky Gut. My mom is hypothyroid and has fibromyalgia. I strongly suspect Gluten is to blame. My dad has late-onset type II diabetes, Dupytrens contracture, and now polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), an immune-mediated inflammatory condition of the muscles. I am now convinced he needs to be tested for Gluten sensitivity. I have found too many links. For so many people to suspect Gluten links to Dupuytrens and PMR is enough evidence for me. Do not wait for your M.D. to bring this up or test you!

    • Melissa says:


      The problem is the lack of testing for gluten sensitivity. You can test for celiac, but not other conditions in this gluten spectrum. Many people test negative for celiac and think they are in the clear when it comes to gluten. NOT true. Boy, you have a lot of red flags in your family. And you are so right, most doctors do not have these connections on their radar.

      Good luck and thank you for your comments!

  20. Aimee says:

    I have type 1 diabetes 40 years &dupuytrens for about 18 years! Dupuytrens inevery finger &thumbs both feet, nothing I have tried has helped. All kinds of body work, acupuncture, massage etc. Perfect blood sugars seem to cease the progression but has no effect on the existing contractutes. I have gluten free/grain free for 18 years. Eating low carb for the diabetes. Gluten free snacks @

    • Melissa says:


      Sounds like you’re doing all you can. I’ve found yoga has really helped my Dupuytren’s. It’s good medicine, but slow medicine. There are no quick fixes when it comes to autoimmune diseases. Hang in there!

  21. Rick says:

    I am a middle-aged guy of N European descent who was diagnosed as gluten intolerant 2 1/2 years ago. Autoimmune diseases run in my family. My mother was diabetic and several nieces and nephews have been diagnosed with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or hypothyroidism in recent years. I am dedicated to a whole foods, non-inflammatory diet (lots of fresh meats and vegetables, little to no refined sugar or dairy). The change in diet produced a radical change in mental clarity and energy level.
    My doctor told me today that I most likely have Dupuytren’s contracture. I had never heard of this before, but my symptoms match up to those of others on this site. A few weeks ago I noticed a small, hard lump in my left hand about an inch or so below my wedding ring. I decided to see the doctor when it began to grow larger and after I noticed a small indentation in the surface of my outstretched palm. The doctor referred me to a specialist. I am hoping the diet regimen will help to slow the progress of the contracture.

    • Melissa says:


      You sound like me. Stick to your whole foods, anti-inflammatory diet. Processed foods, whether GF or not, are inflammatory and we have an inflammatory condition with celiac and Dupuytren’s. This may sound weird, but yoga has helped me sooo much as far as both conditions go. All the stretching and pressure you put on your hands has kept me from having too many problems with Dupuytren’s and I was diagnosed over a decade ago. If I miss yoga or fall off the wagon of totally clean eating, the Dupuytren’s flares up. I know there is a connection. Once you have an autoimmune disease, you always have it, but you can often keep it from getting worse via diet and exercise.

      Keep me posted and thank you so much for your comments.


  22. John says:

    hello …. my name is John — i wanted to tell you that my nephew % niece both have Celiacs disease … his doctors couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t growing at the same rate as other kids his same age …. he also has acute colitis and suffers severe eczema … as a matter of fact my nephew Brendan Worsley has such a severe case of colitis he was given a trip to Italy to the Ferrari Factory from make a wish foundation and they had fund raisers for him in his local town in Sacramento. He’s 18 now and is controlling his celiacs through a very rigid diet and strict cross contamination cleaning of all cookware. Finally his pediatric doctor figured it out as Celiacs …. since he’s cut the Glutton out of his diet he’s gained several pounds and put on massive amounts of muscle seeing as he’s a wrestler at his high school.
    That having been said my older sister was just recently diagnosed with Dupuytren’s Disease …. she was told that this disease was pretty much a disease only known to people of Nordic descent as celiacs is very common in Irish descent. My brother’s ex wife is very Irish. I suffer Diverticulosis and have had 6″ of my lower intestine removed a few years ago. I have since discovered a paleo approach to eating and have lost about 65 pounds. I believe in a high fat and low carb diet. It’s produced great results for me but i’m thinking i need to dial it in even more so now. I need to find out more about glutton …. not just about the obvious problem of wheat products but i also understand it can be found in some tooth pastes as well as the gel capsules that our medicines and supplements come in. It seems to be in so many things you’d never give a second thought about. My nutritionist whom works for Whole Foods as a nutritional counselor and is a strong advocate of the Paleo approach to eating seems to strongly believe that i’m also celiac as well as my older sister and wants us to dial in our diet to that of my nephews & nieces.

    • Melissa says:

      Hi John,

      Thank you for the detailed rundown of your family history. I think you should be tested for celiac before going on a gluten-free diet. Having said that, the test may be negative and you may (probably) still be having an immune response to gluten. These tests aren’t fool-proof and there is no way to test for gluten sensitivity at this point. GS is different from celiac disease, but can cause just as many problems. And researchers are finding these conditions relating to gluten (and even Dupuytren’s) are not specific to northern European descent. One of the highest rates of celiac is in northern Africa. Gluten can wreak havoc on anyone at anytime. It’s an equal opportunity protein.

      Keep me posted. Thanks for your input!

  23. Melodie Gibson says:

    I tested positive on the blood test for Celiac, but negative on the biopsy. I believe I do have Celiac, but that the test was faulty. I cannot eat gluten at all. When I do, I get diarreah, tired, and my joints ache for a least a week.

    I also have Dupytrens contracture. I just received a shot of Xiaflex to straighten one of my fingers and I am having some responses like I ate gluten.

    Hope this helps your survey!

  24. Bee says:

    Melissa –
    My husband and I are beginning a GF free life and I discovered your blog. What is intriguing me is the relationship between gluten and Dupuytren’s contracture. I have had Dupuytren in both feet for about 2 years. We decided to start GF due to the many links to health issues. I am going to keep a log to determine if being GF impacts the Dupuytren’s and many other health issues. I’ll let you know. Thanks you for sharing the connection. Bee

    • Melissa says:


      YES, please keep me posted. I am finding more and more people with both conditions. There must be a link. Thank you for taking the time to weigh in on this.


  25. Jenn says:

    My sister and I were both diagnosed with Celiac over 4 years ago. She has had Type 1 Diabetes for almost 20 years and has Dupuytren’s contractures on both hands requiring surgical intervention about 3 years ago.

    I hadn’t considered a relationship with Celiac and the contractures as long term diabetics often have many complications with joints and tendons. Unfortunately her diet tends to not be under control most of the time, so she is prone to complications of both.

    Luckily, so far I’ve only been blessed with the Celiac-no diabetes, musculoskeletal issues or other comorbidities. This may be due to an earlier diagnosis “thanks” to my sister’s diagnosis. I didn’t have to wait for symptoms.

    Good luck with your research.


    • Melissa says:


      Thank you for weighing in on this. I’m finding the connection with Dupuytren’s and celiac to be fascinating. More and more people are coming out of the woodwork. I do think there is a genetic connection with celiac and Dupuytren’s and all these comments are testimony to the possibility. Thank you for taking the time to share your story. I appreciate it!

  26. Andrew Keisker says:

    About 6 months ago I noticed the nodules mostly in my left hand but they have since appeared in the right as well. No one in my extended family has ever complained of this condition or of Celiac disease, but about 3 months ago I dislocated and fractured my left ring finger but at the time was still able to flex and extend to full ROM except for the swelling. My hand was placed in a cast for 6 weeks and after the cast came off, I have a permanently bent ring finger at the distal phalanges and have been diagnosed with Dupuytren’s disease. Subsequent physical therapy has been unsuccessful and I believe that the Dupuytren’s may have been exacerbated by the fracture. Simultaneously, I developed Peyronie’s Disease. After my urologist explained the connection I realized that the two were related and both treated with megadoses of Vitamin E 1000mg/day. I have also recently read about all of the fat soluble vitamins being involved (A,D,E,K). Relatedly, I have always been a “free bleeder” needing Vitamin K at times to aid in my clotting after surgery and investigation by a hematologist revealed a lack of arachadonic acid in the complement system that regulates clotting. Arachadonic acid is also fat soluble I believe and having always been a very thin person with low body fat, less then 10%, I’m wondering if there is a connection between a deficiency in these vitamins and the exacerbation of the diseases mentioned above. Aren’t most people with Celiac disease very thin? I have not been diagnosed with Celiac disease but never ate a lot of wheat products as a child, mostly white flour breads. I’m wondering if there are things I can do to prevent Celiac disease since I do feel at higher risk now. I don’t know if any of this helps but like you a feel there a strong connections between all of these conditions.
    Since taking Vitamin E daily over the past few months, I feel that I may be making some headway. Could a deficiency in any of the above Vitamins correlate with Celiac?

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Andrew,

      This blog post of mine, which I did last summer, has taken on a life of its own! I’m just now getting caught up on all the responses I’ve gotten. Thank you for your detailed comments. I really appreciate it! You’ve got some interesting insights to all this.

      Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that often leads to fat malabsorption. If you are not absorbing your fats, you are not absorbing fat soluble vitamins. Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin and a deficiency leads to inadequate blood clotting. And yes, some people with celiac disease are very thin because they do not adequately absorb nutrients. And yes, if you are not absorbing your nutrients — you are more at risk of developing diseases.

      You mention that you didn’t eat a lot of wheat products as a child, but ate white flour breads. White flour comes from wheat. It is gluten that people with an intolerance react to. Gluten is in products containing wheat, barley, and rye. It also sneaks into almost all processed foods and even some supplements (vitamins, drugs, etc.).

      You should ask your doctor to test you for celiac disease. If you go off gluten, the test may not be valid.

      Keep us posted.

  27. Donna says:

    I have had Dupuytren’s in my left hand for almost two years now and have now noticed it starting in my right hand. I also have it (or something very similar) occurring in the balls of my feet. That is extremely uncomfortable. I’m glad I found these postings. I will have to check into celiac’s disease to see if I have any symptoms but at the moment I am on a 100% raw eating plan (fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds) so I will be watching to see if any of this clears up or gets worse.

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Donna,

      Interesting. And I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. I have it in both hands and feet as well. Try yoga, but find a class taught by an experienced teacher. I’ve been practicing yoga for a long time and I think the stretching and being barefoot so much has helped. Good luck with your raw whole foods diet. I’d love to hear how you do with that.

      Take care and thanks so much for commenting. I appreciate it.


  28. Janie Guelph says:

    I am 60 yrs old.
    diagnosed Celiac at 18 months old
    just diagnosed with Dupuytren in my right hand
    have Osteoperosus and
    Lichen Sclerosus (curious if any other celiacs have Lichen Sclerosus as well)

    • Melissa says:


      Thanks so much for your comment. Wow, diagnosed with celiac at 18 months old? You had a forward-thinking doctor. I’m wondering if there’s a genetic connection between the two, making you at higher risk of Dupuytren’s if you have celiac. I have both. I don’t know much about lichen sclerosus. Did your doc say anything about treatments for the Dupuytren’s? I’ve been practicing yoga, bending and working my hands and I’m okay, although you can see the pulling in my palms. It’s been over 10 years though and no need for anything other than stretching and working the tightness out.

      Good luck to you!

    • Pam says:

      I am in my late 50s, I am Coeliac (positive bloods and biopsy) and have Dupytrens in both hands. Recently I have been diagnosed with advanced lichen sclerosus answering years of pain and inability to move without skin problems (so no Yoga advice). A few web searches have provided coeliac/LS links.

      I used to keep the Dupytrens under control with Milk Thistle but it isn’t safe for lichen sclerosus.

  29. PJ Garden says:

    I am female, in my early 60s, and have had Dupuytren’s in both hands for 2 years. I’m treating it with massage, hot wax soaks, and exercise. I’ve recently heard that Rolfing is directed at collegen disbursement, so I’ll be looking into that next. A hand surgeon said to me yesterday that I do not need surgery until I cannot flatten my palm on a flat surface. This option is only if all else fails. I have Nordic lineage mixed with American Indian. Thank you for this blog.

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks so much for commenting, PJ. This blog post has elicited such an interesting collection of comments. I really appreciate all of you weighing in on this. I agree that Rolfing might help. I’ve never had that done, but my chiropractor has really worked on my hands on occasion. I practice yoga and massage my hands and work through the tightening. I think if you keep at it, massage, exercise — maybe the Rolfing — that you’ll be able to keep your mobility without surgery. That’s my plan!

      Thanks again and good luck with this!

  30. Bradley Ann says:

    I wrote yesterday and then thought I should make my info more complete as it has been quite a battle to get answers. In the nineties, I had sevaral car accidents and quite a few surgeries to “fix” me. After those events I started noticing a lot more headaches and gut issues. I went to several doctors over the years and was given anti-depressants, physical therapy, pain pills, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories and migraine medicines etc. I was also told to lose weight and it would make me feel better. I gave up for awhile and followed their routines until the anti-depressants made me feel suiicidal. I figured that there had to be a better way.
    I went to yet another doctor-holistic as well as western medicine- and she got me weaned off the antidepressents and starting looking at alternative answers. A blood test revealed that my thyroid was not functioning right-I had to have it removed because of huge nodules that were benign but interfering with my breathing. The nodules can be a sign of malnutrition and I was overweight and that didn’t seem to fit so I started seaching for information. My doctor retired and then I went the round of finding another doctor who didn’t want to give me antidepressents or tranquilizers. I do have chronic back pain as a result of the injuries and some structural pain as well so it is depressing but I wanted something else.
    I started to monitor what I ate and when I had headaches or gut issues. Dairy intolerance and eggs were pretty easy to figure out so I began to cut all of that out of diet. I tried different types of milk on my cereal and in my cooking but still had issues. I looked more and started to research gluten intolerance. The symptoms were pretty nebulous and I could fit mine right in that category. A big clue was that almost immediately after eating bread or other wheat products, my face would get beet red and hot. I started looking more and really paying attention to what I ate. I have become pretty diligent about reading labels and changing recipes to keep any type of wheat product out of my diet.
    It is amazing that I no longer have migraine headaches, my guts have settled down and I do not have heartburn. I have even begun to lose weight. My currant doctor won’t do the blood test for gluten because I haven’t eaten any in about 6 months. My colonoscopy doctor said I should keep with the diet because my intestines are healing.
    To add some history –One of my daughters has had headaches and her stomach would hurt after she ate. I asked her to include the blood tests for food allergies to her physical. It showed positve for gluten, egg and dairy intolerance. The skin allergy test showed it all negative and the doctor told her she should exercise more and take antidepressants. She is a 4.0 college student, runs almost daily and works out in a gym 5 days a week. I add this to tell people not to give up in their search-there are answers. We are discovering new ways to cook and she does not have headaches or the sore stomach anymore. She told me that she didn’t realize that she felt sick all the time until she does not feel sick now. She gave me a book to read “Wheat Belly” by William Davis MD that has amazing information on the rise in gluten issues and how to change your lifestyle.
    More history- My Mother had systemic lupus and her sister has discoid lupus. In my immediate family, one of my sisters just had a colonoscopy that showed huge amounts of diverticulosis and was told to eat high fiber, her daughter has stomach aches a lot, one of my brothers has psoriasis that has invaded his joints and was just hospitalized with severe diverticulitis-I asked him to get them to run a gluten intolerance test with his blood work. I don’t know the results yet but I suspect that it is probably there. Another brother and two sisters have thyroid issues. I hope that this isn’t too wordy but I wanted to let you know this history to show how it can run in families and because I think that what you are doing to give encouragement and information is great! Thank you

    • Melissa says:

      Bradley Ann,

      Wow, thank you for all the great information. I REALLY appreciate it. I’m so glad to hear some of your family’s health issues are slowly disappearing on a GF diet. And it’s so true what your daughter said about not realizing how sick she was before. Sometimes we don’t even know what “feeling good” feels like. Gosh, it sounds like your family has a host of GI issues. Again — an anti-inflammatory, whole foods diet will serve you well.

      Great information — you have contributed so much to the conversation. Hang in there and keep up the good work!


  31. Jimmy says:

    I’ve got dups, and eczema, hayfever, roscea, now uveitis.
    Inflamatory disorders are probably all related. They call dupethrens…the vikings disease. I’ve got the gene HLA-B27, that has given me a terrible back, which creates soft tissue reactive rhumatologic. After decades of seeing ortho doctors, chiropractors…it took my eye doctor to figure it out.

    My hypothesis is…people with hyper active auto-immune system have as a benefit, a lower incidence of cancer.
    Just a hypothesis…but, I think I’m onto something there.
    Asked the question…why is it so prevalent…what’s the possible advantage…
    BTW, good idea you’ve got here…asking all of us to comment….good luck.

    • Melissa says:


      Thanks SO much for weighing with your interesting comments. You know, I believe some of these genes that predispose us to celiac or Dupuytren’s might also serve us in a positive way as well. Those genes were around for a long time before gluten came into the picture. And gluten is inflammatory for some people. You’re right, much of this is related.

      Thanks again!

  32. Pat says:

    I’m a 45 year old woman and started feeling my pinky knuckles cracking upon rising first thing in the morning about 8 months ago. Once I move them, they stop cracking. But seems to be getting worse. Also, have been noticing lots of thickening of my tendons in my palm of my hand, worse on the last two fingers of the hand. Very difficult to write, hold things. Generally good whole foods diet but can’t figure this one out. Tested a few years ago for Celiac but negative. Given this blog, may look into test again. Type a lot and used to drink 2 beers a day or so. Doctor said it was DC – the start of it. Very stiff and very swollen fingers. Feeling big toes tighening too.

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Pat,

      I don’t know if there is any connection, but reading all these comments, and considering my own combination of celiac disease and Dupuytren’s, it makes me wonder. I was diagnosed with Dupuytren’s over a decade ago and although it has gotten worse the past year, it’s moderately under control. I eat an anti-inflammatory diet (for the most part) and practice yoga, which helps stretch the connective tissue in the hands. It’s my opinion (I’m not a doctor) that gluten is an inflammatory food for a lot of people. If you have one autoimmune disease, eating a clean, anti-inflammatory diet (no gluten) might help ward off others.

      Hang in there! And good luck on your journey.

  33. Nina says:

    I was genetically tested by Endo Labs and came back Gluten Sensitivity on both sides of my family. My mother has Hashimoto disease and Dupuytrens. Continues to eat wheat. She is 86.All the women cousins in my Moms family on the same side all have Hashimoto Disease..
    I got one sensitivity gene from my Mom. There is a very strong link..

  34. Lori says:

    I was diagnosed with Dups last month. I tested negative for Celiac 5 years ago, but I’m getting ready to start a gluten free diet. My dups has not yet caused a contracture, so I’m signed up for Radiotherapy in July. My doctor says I will have an excellent chance of STOPPING the progression completely. Radiotherapy has the best result when the contracture hasn’t started. The U.S. hasn’t approved it yet, but all the Northern European countries have! Read about it on the Dupuytrens Society site. Multiple surgeries and contracture releases did not sound appealing to me. I was not willing to “watch and wait.”

  35. Lori says:


    • Melissa says:


      I’m behind in my responses on all this, but yes, there is a connection between several autoimmune diseases and gluten. If you are genetically susceptible (and there are SO many genes we aren’t even aware of at play), then there is a thread that runs between many of these conditions. I have 2 genes that predispose me to celiac disease and one that predisposes me to Dupuytren’s. If I had never been exposed to gluten, I would not have developed celiac disease. I wonder if the same is true for Dupuytren’s. This is all connected in some way.

      More later. I need to reply to several comments here, but wanted to acknowledge your great contributions lately. Thank you so much!


    • Melissa says:

      Lori — and thank you for adding the information about the International Society! I appreciate it.

  36. Melissa (and all)
    Great discussion and very interesting! I have gluten intolerance and no Dupuytren’s but I am working with someone who has Dupuytren’s (we aren’t sure about gluten yet). This is all new to me so reading this has been very useful. My first thought was gluten and an autoimmune reaction but this is the only research I’ve found on autoimmunity

    I wonder if you or anyone else has had any success with NAC?

    Or any other nutrients like vitamin E, proteolytic enzymes like VitalZyme, DMSO or MSM?


  37. Pat says:


    Sorry for delayed response, but just saw your helpful comment. I have been gluten free (as well as wheat and meat free – except organic chicken – and on a completely anti-inflammatory diet for about the past month). Some relief with inflammation on some days, but still still dups and trigger finger getting worse.

    Starting a vitamin and mineral protocol recommended by the Dupuytren Contracture Institute, including acupuncture to hand. Will also be doing a number of blood tests and other tests to check for food intolerances, leaky gut, gene test for gluten issues, etc, etc. If I am successful in any respect, I will report back.

    Am pretty determined…


  38. Norm says:

    I have dupuytrens with the classic palm nodule in my left hand, that does not bother me that much, but in my right hand I have no nodule and suffer from “trigger finger” whereby any one of the four fingers occasionally lock up, and are progressively getting stiffer, and painful. The doc says that it is a combination of dupuytrens, and rhuematoid arthritis. From my research I believe the underlying cause for those maladys, plus about 100 more, auto immune generated, in fact its entirely possible that the majority of human “disorders” are the result of only one “disease” that being an out of balance immune system, brought on by an individual out of balanced diet. If you google “Cytokine” tests for th1 and th2, and follow the reasearch, I think you all will be amazed

  39. Lisarose says:

    Hello Melissa!
    Dupuytrens and Celiacs..
    I was diagnosed with Celiacs two years ago and with Dupuytrens just recently… my father has major debilitating contractures in both hands. Thank you for taking the time to create this survey… we are bright people out there, we have access to information and to each other’s experiences, this is a great way to amass this information.
    Take care,

  40. tim says:

    i have had type 1 diabetes for 20 years and recently had surgery for frozen shoulder i have noticed nodules on left hand (same as my frozen shoulder) i have no doubt that there is an auto immune etiology to these conditions. yet to see doc over hand but i know that it is dupuytrens

  41. Dawn says:

    About 5 weeks ago I was listening to the Bullet Proof Executive pod cast Dave Asprey was talking to Dr. Wm Davis (Wheat Belly Cook Book) I thought what the heck I can try wheat free for a couple of months and see if I feel better. I feel oh so much better! I have had dupuytrens now for 3 years (family history Father, Uncles, both of my brothers) usually the men but I’m one lucky girl I have dups too. Obviously I have not been diagnosed by a doctor for gluten sensitivity or celiacs disease.
    Family history (Mom’s side have diabetes and cardiovascular disease) of HBP I am currently on Hydrochlorothiazide but have noticed recently feeling very tired after taking my medication in the morning.
    Also I have noticed my hands are more flexible, I have noticed my hands now have or should I say feel the ability to stretch which I did not have before. I am very excited!

  42. Graham Brand says:

    I am male 55 and have had type 1 diabetes for 27 years. I developed mild Dupuytrens in both hands about 15 years ago. Linked to that, I developed Peyronie’s Disease aged 17 (10 years before my diabetes was diagnosed). Peyronie’s is very similar to Dupuytrens but develops in the penis rather than the palm. For the last 8 years I have also suffered from Raynaud’s being painful vasoconstriction in the hands and feet in cold weather. All of these conditions are more common in diabetics.

    I am not gluten intolerant but I have suffered from several food intolerances over the years each of which took me a long time to identify. They include some dairy products and bananas and which I now avoid like the Plague.

    I have recently identified an intolerance to tomatoes – something I have eaten almost every day for the last 40 years – having now excluded them from my diet I feel more energetic than ever before and a lot of odd symptoms (including the Raynaud’s) have disappeared. My insulin requirements have dropped, my diabetic control has improved and the Dupuytrens plaque seems to be smaller and softer.

    So, I am now wondering if the inflammation which food intolerance can cause just may be what has led to the linked conditions of Type 1 diabetes, Dupuytrens, Peyronie’s and Raynaud’s. Hey, if it is then just maybe I will enjoy better health in my old age!!

  43. Deb says:

    I also am extremely gluten sensitive and have been gluten free for 10 years. I have Multiple Sclerosis – take no meds, and have had success handling symptoms through the gluten free diet. I also have Dupuytrens Contracture in both hands and both feet — also beginning about 10 years ago. My father was also affected in his hands and feet with Dupuytrens. He did not have a diagnosed gluten sensitivity, but had many motor neurological problems and I have always wondered if there was a sensitivity to gluten as well. I, as well, have wondered if the 2 were connected. Good Luck on your survey

  44. Anna says:

    I’m 62, have dupuytrens which is progressing so fast I notice changes weekly sometimes. I don’t have celiac disease, but I have a ton of allergies. For a few years I was allergic to wheat, but am now able to eat white flour–not whole wheat. I keep thinking that dupuytrens has something to do with nutrition.As I was a vegetarian for almost 40 years, I wonder if too little protein or too many carbs has contributed to this condition.

  45. Sherry says:

    I’m celiac (double DQ2), Dupuytrens in both hands and feet, with a mild contracture in a pinkie finger. (age 57, female). Also hypothyroid and have glaucoma. Also need high doses of B12 and folate; after taking these, have had some improvement in my previously very poor absorption. Lyme disease as well, so I have wondered if the Duputrens is more related to having a chronic illness as well as nutrition. I’m the only diagnosed celiac, DD is gluten intolerant. 2 other family members now have dupuytrens and due to their relationship to me have at least 1 DQ2 gene.

  46. KT says:

    I am 51 and have had plantar fibromatosis in both feet for about 4 years and now have Dupuytren’s in both hands. I also have PCOS, type 2 DM hpothyroidism and seem to be gluten intolerant. My dad also has Duouytren’s in one hand

  47. Nancy says:

    Not Celiac per se, but definitely gluten intolerant and I do have Dupuyten’s in both hands, age 74. Dad had it – Scottish ancestry. I’m also hypothyroid – supposed to have normal blood tests with Levothroid supplementation, but I don’t believe it. Hair loss all over, frozen shoulder, edema, cholesterol higher than it should be for a 7-year vegan.

  48. Betty says:

    I’m 55, diagnosed with dc last year but have suffered from a few of the autoimmune disorders that have been described by others on the blog also including hormonal disorders. A network of concerned individuals in my community have created a health group focused on the paleo diet which seems to be doing wonders for alot of health concerns. I have been following the auto immune diet plan found in the book Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. Great book and excellent illustrations. Pulling wheat out of your diet is very difficult. It was a very addictive substance for me.

  49. Liana says:

    I’ve had DC since the age of 26 in both hands and both feet. The best thing I’ve used is Vit E Now at the age of 62 I am using Milk Thistle internally, and a cream of vit E, MSM and Nettle on the nodule everyday. The effect has been noticeable. It has reduced in size and is less sore and angry. My Father also had it both hands and feet. I am sensitive to gluten, allergic to whey, have high cholesterol, and have low blood sugar non diabetic. My Father had all too, except the whey allergy. The commonalities of symptoms is very interesting.

  50. Carol says:

    I was diagnosed with Plantar Fibrosis in 1987 (in the feet) at 29 yrs old. I had 4 or 5 surgery’s on the left foot. Then in 2002 noticed lumps in the palms of both hands….never thought both were the same. In 2011 had to have surgery in right foot for the same thing….that year I was told that the problem with hands and feet were actually the same thing with different name. My doctor said it happens in European people…Who ever said its not painful never had this that’s for sure. No diabetes and not sure about the food allergies

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