Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is one of the most common inherited neurological disorders, and nearly all cases are inherited.
CMT damages the body's peripheral nerves, making them unable to activate muscles or relay sensory information from the limbs back to the spinal cord and the brain. There are different types of CMT disease, which may share some symptoms but vary by pattern of inheritance and age of onset. Early symptoms typically include weakness or paralysis of the foot and lower leg muscles. As the disease progresses, weakness and decreased muscle bulk may occur in the hands, arms, legs, or feet.
People may lose the ability to feel heat, cold, and touch. Chronic shortening of muscles or tendons around joints prevents the joints from moving freely, and muscle cramping is common. Some people have pain that can range from mild to severe. Genetic testing can detect the most common types of CMT.
There is no cure for CMT, but rehabilitation and sometimes surgery can help people cope with the disabling symptoms of the disease. In addition, medications can be prescribed for individuals who have severe pain. Pediatric physiatrists can help prescribe programs, therapy services, medication, braces, and equipment to maximize function in children and young adults with CMT.
NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke