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Supporting people affected by Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

Hip And Joint Health For Those With Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease

The prevalence of hip dysplasia is high, and the condition more severe in those living with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT), as shown by a recent NIH study. With approximately 23,000 people diagnosed with CMT in the UK, it is important to understand how their joints can be affected by this common inherited neurological condition. Due to the weakness that develops in the distal muscles the hips are thought to overcompensate during exercise which puts strain on the hip flexors. This can cause fatigue and limit walking duration. Despite this fact, exercise is more important for people with CMT, than for those without, as it helps to manage the condition.  Exercising also helps avoid obesity which is important as this would lead to unnecessary strain on the joints.

Hip problems to overcome

People with CMT are more prone to hip problems including dysplasia than the rest of the population but much can be done to overcome this in the form of strengthening exercises etc.  There tends to be an imbalance of muscular development about the hip caused by proximal hip weakness. This results in an increased femoral neck-shaft angle making dysplasia more likely.

Use your muscles

By maintaining the muscles as much as possible the chance of this outcome is reduced.  Stretching exercises are thought particularly beneficial as they prevent pain and loss of range of motion at joints, this in turn helps preserve the muscles by avoiding muscle shortening.  The misbalance of muscles associated with hip dysplasia then becomes less likely.  In addition, strengthening the hip muscles by exercising such as cycling can help stabilise the joints.  It may be a good idea to try a recumbent exercise bike as it puts the joint in a better position for hip stability and avoids unnecessary strain on the joints.

Exercise benefits all with CMT

Although there are several different types of CMT, there is a universal requirement for exercise and stretching to limit the problems and slow down the progression of the condition.  Whilst high impact exercise is not recommended for those with CMT, moderate-intensity aerobic training two to five times a week is thought beneficial.  By paying a little more attention to your exercise routine you can prevent most of the deterioration associated with the disease and instead lead a healthy happy life empowered with strength.


Jane Sandwood

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