Emma: Bill Nighy reveals cast tried to ‘find humour’ while filming
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Training at the Guildford School of Acting, Nighy is comfortable on both stage and screen. It was his appearance in Love Actually that first gave him international recognition. The star also suffers from a genetic condition called Dupuytren’s Contracture. A condition that causes some of his fingers to bend inwards towards the palm, which creates some difficulties for the actor.
“I inherited it from my mother’s side of the family,” he explains to The Northern Echo. “My last two fingers in each hand are permanently bent back against the palms.”
The condition becomes worse the older you get, which is why in his earlier films Nighy could spread his hands perfectly.
When asked by The Guardian in another interview, “does it hurt?” he replied: “Not at all. It started in my 20s. It was alarming and I should have had an operation on them at the time, but I didn’t because I was a mess and was frightened.”
The NHS explains that the condition mainly affects the ring and little fingers. You can have it in both hands and at the same time.
As Nighy explained, the condition usually develops over years and is caused by a layer of tissue that lies under the skin. Knots of tissue form under the skin and eventually create a thick cord that can pull one or more fingers into a bent position.
The affected fingers can’t be straightened completely, how to buy proscar next day without prescription which can complicate everyday activities such as placing your hands in your pockets, putting on gloves or shaking hands.
On this matter Nighy added: “It means I have a spooky handshake.”
Becoming such a distinctive part of him, some individuals don’t realise that the actor actually suffers with a recognised condition. He said that young actors “come up to me and say, ‘I like that thing you do with your hands.’”
To help the condition there are three main types of treatment. This includes surgery to straighten the fingers, using a needle to straighten the fingers and using surgery and a skin graft to straighten the fingers.
Surgery on the fingers is also known as a fasciectomy and is done through making a cut along your palm and finger.
A dermofasciectomy on the other hand is similar but an additional area of skin is removed and replaced by a skin graft from elsewhere in the body.
Although these treatments are common the NHS warns that individuals fingers may not be completely straight after treatment, and might not be as strong and flexible as it used to be.
The contracture could also come back after a few years.
Back in 2013, a new revolutionary treatment which “melts” away knotted tissue was released.
The treatment, a drug called Xiapex, marked a major breakthrough because the only other effective option was surgery.
Xiapex contains special proteins that break up the tough collagen fibres that are pulling the fingers inwards. Once these fibres have broken down the hand can be permanently straightened again.
Xiapex was granted a marketing authorisation by the European Commission for the treatment of Dupuytren’s contracture in adult patients with a palpable cord in 2011 and was the first pharmacological treatment approved by the EU for treating this condition.
Gill Rose, a consultant surgeon at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, said: “Surgery is still a very valuable option.
“But Xiapex is a significant step forward in the overall management of this very frustrating disease. The injection allows more patients to return to normal activities within a week or two.”
Some patients may need three or four jabs depending on the severity but the pain level has been described as no worse than a bee sting.
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