Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is a condition that causes damage to the peripheral nerves, which are involved in movement and sensation. This damage weakens muscles and results in reduced physical abilities. This can make simple activities such as walking, brushing teeth or hair, and getting dressed very difficult.
Weak muscles in the legs and feet can also lead to foot deformities that contribute to clumsiness and problems with balance. The struggle with daily activities can have a significant impact on patients’ quality of life.
Physiotherapy aims to help patients adapt to the physical limitations they experience and to strengthen existing capabilities.
It is not possible to regain muscles that have already degenerated, but physiotherapy can be used to strengthen muscles that are unaffected by the disease. These muscles can help support those that can no longer do their work, and may help maintain existing movement abilities and flexibility. Maintaining the function of muscles also reduces the loss of joint motion that results from muscle weakness.
Physical exercise should be moderate and should not put unnecessary stress on the joints. It is the task of a physiotherapist to adapt the exercise program to personal strengths and flexibility. Activities such as swimming, walking (sometimes with walking poles), yoga, and Pilates are suitable for many CMT patients.
Assistive devices such as braces, crutches, and canes can be used to improve balance and to make walking less exhausting. Some patients with CMT may need wheelchairs or scooters to move around. A physiotherapist can advise which device is most suitable for the patient and can also make sure that walkers, canes, or crutches fit well.
There are also a number of aids and adaptations that can make everyday tasks easier to perform.
The muscle weakness that CMT patients experience can be associated with muscle spasms, cramps, and pain. Physiotherapy focuses on pain relief without medication through stretching, massages, and targeted exercise.
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.