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What is muscular dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy is an inherited condition that causes progressive muscle wasting. Muscular dystrophy will slowly increase a child’s weakness and disability.

The more common types of Muscluar dystrophy include:
  • Duchenne Muscluar Dystrophy
  • Becker Muscluar Dystrophy
  • Limb girdle Muscluar Dystrophy
  • Facioscapulohumeral Dystrophy
  • Oculopharyngeal Dystrophy
  • Myotonic Dystrophy

What causes muscular dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy is an inherited condition caused by a genetic disorder. More commonly muscular dystrophy runs in families, however, occasionally, muscular dystrophy can cause occur in people without a known family history of the condition due to a gene mutation.

Mobility exercisesusing a wheeled walking frame supervised by a Paediatric PhysiotherapistAbove: Mobility exercisesusing a wheeled walking frame supervised by a Paediatric Physiotherapist

What are the symptoms of muscular dystrophy?

In some cases of muscular dystrophies symptoms are present in a child birth or within the first few months. These symptoms include
  • decreased head control
  • hypotonic – low muscle tone causing a baby to be floppy
  • dislocated hips
  • joint contractures know as arthrogryposis may be present
Symptoms may not always be present and many children with muscular dystrophy develop normally over their first few years. Later symptoms of a muscular dystrophy may be:

Core stability exercises supervised by a paediatric physiotherapistAbove: Core stability exercises supervised by a paediatric physiotherapist

Physiotherapy for muscular dystrophy

Although there is currently no cure for muscular dystrophy physiotherapists are able to work with your child improve their muscle and joint function. This will help slow your child’s muscle deterioration.

Physiotherapy helps children with muscular dystrophy to maintain muscle tone and reduces the severity of any joint contractures. The physiotherapist will be able to provide your child with an exercises that will help keep their muscles strong and the joints flexible.

The physiotherapists at will help your child to reach their maximum physical potential. The physiotherapist’s main aims of treatment are:
  • Maintain joint range and flexibility.
  • Optimise your child’s available muscle power.
  • Maintain functional activities for as long as possible
Other aims of treatment include:
  • Minimise the chance of joint contractures occurring
  • Prevent secondary complications
  • Make sure all equipment is used correctly
  • Making sure your child is being handled in the most appropriate way
  • Monitor your child’s respiratory function
Prior to treatment the physiotherapist will assess your child. During the assessment of your child will the physiotherapist will discuss the history of your child’s muscular dystrophy and the problems that they are currently experiencing. Following this there will be a physical assessment where your child’s muscle, joints, function, lungs will all be measured. This comprehensive assessment enables the physiotherapist to target your child’s main problems and deal with the areas that cause them most concern. At the end of the assessment, the physiotherapist will answer any questions and discuss the most suitable treatment options.

The physiotherapists at can liaise with other professionals in your child’s team such as a neurologist, orthopaedic surgeon, occupational therapist, specialist nurse, regarding the best treatment for your child.

To arrange a physiotherapy appointment call on 0330 088 7800, or book online can provide a wide range of treatments, and adapt them to suit the needs of your individual child. Types of physiotherapy treatment for muscular dystrophy include: The physiotherapists at will choose the most appropriate treatment for your child. They will also be able to design and exercise programme for your child that can be followed between treatments.

To arrange a physiotherapy appointment call on 0330 088 7800, or book online

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