BDS logoFolk with Dupuytren'sPlaying Dulcimer

hatsstand

mandolin close

strumming from above

me strumming

 

This is Trevor Ryder's website - raising money for research into Dupuytren's contracture through folk music

Dupuytren's Contracture

nodulesDupuytren’s contracture is a benign thickening of the connective tissue, or fascia, of the palm and fingers. It usually starts with a tiny lump, called a nodule, in the palm. Eventually string-like cords develop beneath the skin, and if the condition progresses the affected fingers are pulled towards the palm and cannot be straightened anymore.

The symptoms are often mild and can be painless and may not require treatment. However, it is a progressive condition that gets worse over time. If one or more fingers become permanently bent, it can make daily activities, such as buttoning up a shirt, difficult. Playing a musical instrument may obviously become challenging, if not impossible.

bent fingersDupuytren’s disease is a fairly common condition. It tends to affect more men than women, and often occurs in later life. It can affect up to 20% of men above 60, and 20% of women who are over 80 years old. Not every patient develops a contracture and needs treatment, the disease can become dormant at any stage.

Dupuytren’s disease is most commonly found in white Europeans, and it is known to run in families. There is a strong genetic component. For more information visit the British Dupuytren's Society website at dupuytrens-society.org.uk, or click on the British Dupuytren's Society logo wherever you see it on this website.

My Dupuytren's

I started developing the first signs of Dupuytren's in my late forties. Although I was a Geography teacher by profession I was also an amateur classical guitarist, good enough to give occasional recitals and guitar lessons at the school where I taught. My plan was always to continue to play and teach classical guitar after retiring from mainstream teaching. Just looking at the pictures on this page should be enough to explain why Dupuytren's put an end to that ambition.

By my mid-fifties, I'd had two operations under general anaesthetic on my left hand and one on my right. Despite the brilliance of the surgical teams that worked on me, the operations have left both hands with limited dexterity and manual strength and, due to nerve damage, I have incomplete feeling in the fingers and palm of the left hand.

My experience of Dupuytren's shows that it is never cured, and it won't just go away. I've just had my latest operation to straighten the little finger of my left hand - the third operation on that hand in 12 years. The photograph on the right was taken on 21st February, 2019 and shows the results of the surgery.

(By the way, don't be too sympathetic - the bend at the top of the little finger has nothing to do with Dupuytren's - it's the result of a failed attempt at catching a cricket ball).

About Folk with Dupuytren's

Folk with Dupuytren's is my way of supporting research into the causes of this debilitating condition, and maybe helping to develop treatments that don't involve invasive surgery. I especially hope that one day this may of some benefit, no matter how small, to both professional and amateur musicians.

(So far in 2018-19 we have raised over £5,000, some of which has gone towards production of the CD, "Scorn not the Strings", but over £2,500 has been donated to the British Dupuytren's Society - the aim. eventually, is to raise £10,000 for the society)