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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. 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.

  12. Elisha says:

    My Aunt has Celiac, Dupuytren’s Contracture in both of her hands and also Type 1 Diabetes.

  13. Jeanene says:

    Of course it makes perfect sense that Dupuytren’s and Celiac are related. I have both. Logically, the autoimmune attack on the body initiated by Celiac disease reacting to the exposure to gluten, creates a HUGE inflammatory response (simply meaning NEGATIVE reaction inside the body). That inflammation is easily measured by various blood tests that show inflammatory markers….any doctor can order it.
    The inflammation is the root source for so many diseases and illnesses that it would be difficult to list them all here. And the diseases and illnesses caused by the inflammation are different in different people. It all depends upon your genetic profile as to how your body will choose to respond to the inflammatory attacks and the autoimmune attacks.
    My celiac manifested in my brain and caused SEVERE depression, anxiety, and stress….because the “blood brain barrier” had been crossed as a result of the gluten induced autoimmune response.
    The inflammation also manifested in the Dupuytren’s in my palm.
    Two months ago I received that diagnoses from an orthopedic hand specialist. He said there was no known cause and no known cure. NOT what I wanted to hear.

    But just weeks prior to that info, I had learned I have Celiac Disease and had begun to eliminate ALL gluten from my diet, and now 2 months after being diagnosed with Dupuytren’s Contracture, the nodule is half the size it was and the finger is no longer being pulled inward. In other words, my body is healing itself because I have removed the toxic inputs and the inflammation is subsiding.
    The gluten elimination is tricky though. It is hidden in places like vitamin pills, prescription medicines, all sorts of places a person would never think to look unless you research the “hidden code words for gluten”.

    And I also had “gluten Cross Reactive” food testing done and found I am reactive to Corn, Oats, Soy, Dairy, and Yeast in EXACTLY the same way as gluten, so if I eat those things I might as well eat gluten because I will get the same inflammatory response inside my body.

    FYI: Cyrex Laboratory is the one and ONLY lab in the United States that has this specific and detailed testing for ALL the gluten induced antibodies and the cross reactive foods. I’ll say it again…it is the ONLY lab and using any other lab will not get you the correct answer.
    I had it happen to me 3 years ago when I used ALCAT Lab for testing and was told I did NOT have a gluten intolerance. WRONG as could be and it cost me 3 more years of damage to my intestine. The ALCAT testing only test the “whole” gliadin particle…it does not break it down into the subcategories. That is why the test can come back with an erroneous answer, as it did for me.

    Hope all this info helps others.

  14. Jeanene says:

    If you truly have Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you must eliminate ALL ALL ALL gluten. Eating one crumb will get you the same inflammatory/autoimmune response as eating the entire loaf of bread. So you might as well eat the entire loaf.
    Read the books: GRAIN BRAIN and WHEAT BELLY and it will all make sense.

    You must become a FANATIC about removing the offending foods and a fanatic about looking for the hidden sources of gluten disguised as various “code words” on food labels….words like maltodextrin and Natural Flavors…

    Otherwise you will think you have eliminated gluten, but you will not have done so. And you will then erroneously think that gluten was not the source of your Dupuytren’s, when it is simply a matter that you are still unknowingly ingesting gluten and therefore your body is still under attack.

  15. Linda Wallace says:

    I have been sensitive to Gluten for the last 3 years and therefore on a gluten free diet. Four months ago I fell and broke my wrist, needing surgery to insert a plate and 11 screws. At the same time, I elected to have surgery for trigger finger (my middle finger). Since then I have developed a fairly rapid case of Dupuytren’s in that same hand. I was given drugs with gluten (during and after surgery) which I stopped a week later, after realizing it.

    Does anyone know if rolfing or chiropractic care of the hand, or acupuncture can help treat it? I am concerned about the rate of its progress even though I am gluten free. My mother does have Dupuytrens also.

  16. Mer says:

    I have been diagnosed with gluten intolerance, first dx as celiac, the tests came back negative. I have had many positive Ana’s with high tigers but remain undiagnosed for any autoimmune disease. I have Duputryn’s and have had a needle aponeurotomy (sp) done on the little finger of my left hand about 10 years ago. It will need to be done again soon. I wondered about any connections also, but have not found studies, my family hx only includes RA.

  17. Tanya says:

    I used to suffer from symptoms in my hands that were very similar to Dupuytren’s contracture, as well as rheumathoid nodules in my fingers elbows knees and feet. But these symptoms would appear and then mysteriously disappear. Allergists and rheumatologists were perplexed. Through process of elimination and help from a nutritionist, I discovered I was gluten and dairy intolerant, and these strange symptoms now only flare up on the (increasingly rare) occasions when I have been glutened. I have not been diagnosed with celiac disease, DC or RA, but I can attest empirically that there is a clear correlation in my case between gluten and those symptoms. I hope this helps!

  18. Bill says:

    I was diagnosed with depuytners disease two years ago. It started as a small lump on my right hand below little finger. The lump has doubled in size. I see where gluten makes it flame up. I also have diabetes, which my doctor says the two seem to go together. At this time the fingers are not bent inward.I massage the lump and fingers using Bio oil it softens the lump. I also do stretch exercise placing my hand flat on a hard surface and forcing the fingers to stretch. This is a terrible disease especially for those who use the hands for labor

  19. BC says:

    I was diagnosed with Dupuytren’s 6 years ago and had radiation therapy shortly after the diagnosis. The affected tissue in my right hand did not grow much afterwards, but it did increase a bit over the following years.

    Four years ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac, which I now realize I had since childhood (I am 66). I stopped eating gluten.

    About a year later, I realized my hand nodes were had stopped increasing, and in fact were smaller.

    Just another thought – I also have Morton’s Neuroma, and have always wondered if there is a connection to this as well.

  20. Kathy says:

    F/51 yrs.: I have Dupuytren’s in both hands (hard, painful lumps that now reach up towards my middle & index finger on the left hand, and middle/ring finger on the right hand), it came on quickly and seems to be progressing….I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 4 yrs. ago (auto immune disease)…I wonder if they are related? I have no idea if I am diabetic or have a gluten allergy.
    My 27 yr. old daughter was recently diagnosed with Lupus (also auto immune) and had Dupuytren’s 2 yrs. before I did. She was told she has a gluten allergy and tried to change her diet to raw fruit/vegi smoothies, salmon for dinner, etc….however, due to extreme emotional stress in her life (known to be very bad for any auto immune disorder)….it is hard to tell if it is helping.
    I hope your study can lead to some help for all of us suffering! Thank you 🙂
    I definitely think Dupuytren’s is connected to auto immune disorders..
    Is it true that it can be hereditary?

  21. Karen says:

    You should be aware that DePuytren’s Contracture (in the hands) is very closely association with Ledderhose Disease (in the feet). I have both (like both my parents and my eldest brother, confirming that known fact that there is a strong genetic/epigenetic component). The predisposition is often triggered by an environmental stresser such as an injury, as happened in my case with a simple backpacking/hiking foot injury. There is some speculation that these may represent different aspects of the same underlying etiology, but nobody knows anything for certain; it’s not that well-studied.

    Both conditions are indeed already recognized as auto-immune diseases, though the specific etiology is unknown, biochemically. The DePuytren’s, at least, apparently has some association with high calcium levels; taking magnesium to reduce calcium uptake DURING THE ACTIVE CONTRACTURE PHASE *may* sometimes be helpful, but *only* if one has higher-than-normal calcium levels, and *only* during active contracture phases. It may account for some cases where diminishing milk/calcium intake appears helpful.

    However, I do NOT have celiac disease, nor diabetes, so in my case cannot anecdotally confirm any relationship there.

  22. Adrienne McAuley says:

    I have celiac and Dupuytren’s in both hands. I was diagnosed with celiac 2 years ago and Dupruytren about 7 years ago. I also have Spasmodic Dysphonia (neurological voice disorder) which began almost 20 years ago. Shortly after I was diagnosed with Celiac I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m a physical train wreck but still feel pretty good since being on a gluten free diet.
    Hope your research proves to help many people out there with issues!

  23. Brenda says:

    Radiation therapy is widely available to treat Dupuytren’s and it’s sister disease, Ledderhose in the feet. look at this website for more info on RT.

  24. Lee Grefsrud says:

    Thank you for this great post! I have Duypuytren’s in both hands and my brother has Celiac. I was at a naturopath’s visit and he suggested they were related. I’ve recently been trying to be more GF and am beginning to notice a correlation. Hopefully serious studies will be done in the near future that may elicit some helpful insights towards a ‘cure’.

  25. VSM says:

    I have both. Was just looking up to see if DC is auto-immune and discovered this.

  26. Jerry Marr says:

    I have both CD and DC. Also have Dermatitis Herpetiforn along with the CD. Danish and other N. Euro lineage.

  27. Patrick Springer says:

    I have celiac disease and Dupuytren’s, although it has not progressed to contracture. Also have psoriasis. Northern European ancestry.

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