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Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease

What is it?

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease or Peroneal Muscular Atrophy is the commonest disease within a group of conditions called Hereditary Motor and Sensory Neuropathies (HMSN). This group of diseases are caused by degeneration of the peripheral nerves, nerve roots, and even the spinal cord. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is also known as HMSN Type I, and is the most common disease in the group.

The nerves that supply the small muscles of the feet are affected, causing weakness and deformity in the feet. There is also loss of position and vibration sense to the feet. Much later, the small muscles of the hands are also affected.

What causes it?

The disease is hereditary, and is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait.

What are the symptoms?

The affected child presents with high arches in his feet, as well clumsiness and pain in his feet and legs. Due to muscle imbalance in the feet, the child may develop a dropfoot, as well as a cavus foot, where the arch of the foot is very pronounced and fixed. Later, if the small muscles of the hands are also affected, he may develop clawing of the fingers. The affected child has normal intelligence, and a normal life span.

What does your doctor do about it?

Exercises to maintain flexibility of the feet may help in the early stages. If the dropfoot becomes severe, muscle transfer may restore dorsiflexion to the foot. In cases of mature fixed cavus feet that are painful, surgical fusion (Triple arthrodesis) is indicated.


NOTICE: The information presented is for your information only, and not a substitute for the medical advice of a qualified physician. Neither the author nor the publisher will be responsible for any harm or injury resulting from interpretations of the materials in this article.

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