What is Charcot Marie Tooth?
Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT) is an inherited neurological disorder that affects the peripheral nerves outside of the spinal cord, especially those in the lower extremity. The severity ranges depending on the type of CMT. CMT is also known as hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy (HMSN) and peroneal muscular atrophy.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptom is very high arched feet due to weakening of the small muscles in the foot. Over time the muscles on the front of the leg that control the tendons to the top of the foot weaken and it becomes difficult to lift the foot up while walking, a condition called foot drop. The toes begin to flex forming claw toes that become rigid overtime and the high arched foot becomes more severe and painful.
How is Charcot Marie Tooth diagnosed?
A nerve conduction study and electromyography are ordered to help diagnose the condition. X-rays of your feet are recommended to evaluate the condition of joints and for surgical planning. For some types of CMT, genetic testing is available.
What is the treatment for Charcot Marie Tooth?
Initially custom orthotics can be very helpful to support the high arch and help rebalance the muscles in the foot. Physical therapy can be helpful to maintain muscle strength. As CMT progresses custom bracing and surgical correction are considered. Surgical correction depends on the severity of CMT but often includes bone cuts (osteotomies) and/or joint fusions as well as tendon rebalancing procedures to reduce the high arch and correct drop foot if present.