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What is facioscapulohumeral dystrophy?

Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy is a type of muscular dystrophy which causes progressive muscular weakness. It affects muscles in the face, shoulder and scapula (shoulder blade) which makes it difficult to use the shoulder functionally.

What causes facioscapulohumeral dystrophy?

Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy is an inherited condition. It is caused by small defects in the genes that are responsible for the structure and function of skeletal muscle. The defects mean that the muscle fibres are unable to contract efficiently. It is the muscle cells that cause the problem, not the nerves that control the muscles.

Stretching the muscle and connective tissue of the glenohumaral jointAbove: Stretching the muscle and connective tissue of the glenohumaral joint

What are the symptoms of facioscapulohumeral dystrophy?

Symptoms of facioscapulohumeral dystrophy can include:
  • Progressive muscle weakness in shoulder
  • Stiff and restricted movement of shoulder
  • Tightness of shoulder muscles

Physiotherapy for facioscapulohumeral dystrophy

Physiotherapy is aimed at preventing the condition becoming worse and improving or maintaining quality of life. Treatment that your physiotherapist can use to achieve this may include:
  • Strengthening programme to maintain strength
  • Stretching programme to maintain range of movement and prevent contractures
At our physiotherapists also work closely with neurological physiotherapists and occupational therapists who may also be able to help you by providing further treatment and equipment.

Can facioscapulohumeral dystrophy cause any long-term effects?

Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy is a long term condition however physiotherapy can help to treat symptoms and teach you how to manage the condition. Physiotherapy is aimed at improving your quality of life and helping you to maintain functional activity.

To arrange an assessment with please contact us or call 0330 088 7800.

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