Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is the name given to a group of heritable disorders characterized by the progressive loss of the peripheral nerves, which control muscle movement and carry sensory information to the brain. CMT causes muscle weakness and loss of sensation, primarily in the hands and feet.

Travel can be difficult for CMT patients, but it can also enjoyable with good planning and organization.

Planning ahead

It is important for CMT patients to plan travel around their accessibility needs. Airports often involve walking long distances, so patients may need to plan ahead and schedule a wheelchair or allow extra time between flights.

CMT patients with orthotic braces should allow additional time for getting through airport security and may want to get a seat on the plane with more legroom.

Emergency medical information

CMT patients should ensure that they have enough medication for the duration of their trip, and know where to go to receive treatment if necessary. To get through airport and other security checks with braces, canes, medications or other support devices, patients or those accompanying them should carry prescription(s) for medications/devices, or a letter from the physician explaining that the support device is necessary.

Additional tips

Additional tips for CMT patients when traveling include:

  • Making sure that airlines and other travel providers are aware of necessary accommodations in advance.
  • Being specific about what accommodations are needed.
  • Asking a physician or care team members for recommendations before traveling.
  • Traveling with a statement from a physician, preferably on letterhead, describing the traveler’s medical condition, treatment, special needs, and potential complications. Make sure to have emergency contact information for the care team while traveling.
  • Knowing in advance where to go for treatment if any problems occur while traveling, and making sure that this information is available in case of emergency.
  • Using a specialist travel agency, which may be able to anticipate needs and ensure needed services are available.
  • Making arrangements for an accessible vehicle if the traveler uses a wheelchair.
  • Having a small wheelchair repair kit with tools and commonly replaced parts, as replacements may not be widely available.

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Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.