Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT): a genetic disease of nerves that results in progressive muscle weakness, typically of the arms and legs. Wasting of the distal extremities, especially the peroneal muscles are usually evident. Lower extremities are usually affected before upper extremities are. This disease affects the peripheral nervous system, not the main central nervous system. The peripheral nerves that are affected are in charge of controlling our muscles and relying information from our arms and legs to our brain. Sense of touch is also affected and results in numbness in some individuals. The lifespan of those diagnosed with CMT is not lower than that of a healthy person, although it is a progressive disease so symptoms do progress. Symptoms include: Early: clumsiness and difficulty lifting feet off the ground. Additional symptoms: weakness in muscles of the lower leg, ankle, and foot, hammertoes, instability at ankle joint, footdrop, numbness in arms/legs, and higher step length. Progressive symptoms can include the upper extremities being affected, nerve pain, muscle pain with walking, dexterity, and issues with mobility/balance.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS): a disease which affects the central nervous system, including the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. The disease is an immune system attack against the central nervous system. Myelin, which is the substance that surrounds and protects the nerves, is damaged as well as the nerve fibers. The damaged myelin develops scar tissue (sclerosis) which is where the name was developed. The progress, severity, and symptoms of MS can vary from each person diagnosed. There are 4 different disease courses that a patient can follow. Symptoms can include: Fatigue, numbness, difficulty with gait and balance, vision issues, depression, dizziness, heat intolerance, and bowel/bladder dysfunction. Life span can be decreased by 5-10 years for those with MS.
Physical therapy for those with CMT and MS appear to be similar, but will differ depending on patient’s case. Treatment may include:
o Balance training
o Gait training
o Mobility and transfer training
o Stretching and Flexibility (can develop spasticity with both)
o Activity planning-Rest breaks (both diseases susceptible to fatigue, MS>CMT)
We see patients with Charcot Marie Tooth in the 34711 area!