You are probably well aware of the damage that smoking can do to your lungs, skin or your teeth. But did you know that your nicotine habit may also be harming your hands? Those who smoke or use tobacco products can experience reduced blood circulation in their extremities. When it comes to the hands, smoking has been linked to wrinkles and nail fungus as well as nerve damage and Dupuytren’s Disease.
What is Dupuytren’s Disease?
Dupuytren’s Disease or contracture refers to the development of tissue knots under the skin of the hands. What begins with lumps and pitting in the palms can progressive to cause permanent and debilitating bending of the fingers. Unfortunately, smoking is known to increase the risk for this condition, likely due to the high potential of microscopic changes that occur within blood vessels with cigarette use. Dupuytren’s contracture is also associated with alcoholism, nutritional deficiencies, diabetes and family history.
Other Hand Conditions Triggered or Worsened by Smoking
If you are a smoker, the risk of hand issues keeps growing. Some studies report evidence that smoking cigarettes increases the risk of developing conditions like reflex sympathetic dystrophy and hand-arm vibration syndrome. Furthermore, if you have fractures, wounds or tendon damage in your hand, your smoking habit can cause these injuries to heal slower. Your susceptibility to infection and other complications is much greater if you regularly use nicotine and tobacco products, as they are known as vasoconstrictors that impede your body’s ability to heal.
How Precision Hand Center Can Help
If you believe your smoking habit is contributing to your hand condition, we can help. First and foremost, we encourage you to stop tobacco use to help your extremities heal and recover. However, if you have existing damage or dysfunction, such as Dupuytren’s contracture, we offer proven treatment options, including Xiaflex injections, needle fasciotomy and open surgery. Call today to book your consult with our board-certified hand and plastic surgeon in Wellington.