Charcot-Marie-Tooth, or CMT, is inherited peripheral neuropathy and is found worldwide among all races and ethnic groups. Discovered in 1886 by three physicians, Jean-Martin Charcot, Pierre Marie, and Howard Henry Tooth, CMT affects an estimated 2.6 million people.
CMT usually isn’t life threatening and almost never affects brain function. It is not contagious, but it is hereditary and can be passed down from one generation to the next.
CMT patients slowly lose normal use of their extremities as nerves degenerate and muscles weaken because the affected nerves no longer stimulate the muscles. Many patients also have some loss of sensory nerve functions.
Although there are many different genetic causes of CMT, all types tend to have remarkably similar symptoms.
It is important to note that the severity of symptoms can vary greatly from patient to patient, even within the same family. A child may or may not be more severely disabled than his/her parent. Some family members may experience significant impairment and require bracing while others have no noticeable symptoms but are found to have CMT upon examination by EMG or nerve conduction studies.
Treatment and Prevention
Although there is no cure for CMT at the present time, there are many therapies that can greatly improve life and function for CMT patients.
Any disabling condition can affect the way people think and feel about themselves, but having a chronic illness like CMT, which is often unseen, places stress on individuals and often causes depression. People with CMT can suffer from low self-esteem and relationships with others can be affected. Even when a person has learned to live with CMT, the progressive nature of the disorder may bring about more loss and the grieving process can begin again.
Some patients cope successfully on their own or with the support of family and friends; others find it therapeutic to talk to a professional counselor or to participate in a support group. To find additional information about CMT, please visit the CMTA’s website at cmtausa.org.
If the problem persists, consult your foot doctor.
Mid Star Lab Recommends
It is recommended that an accommodative orthotic be used for this patient. We suggest a leather or firm Plastazote shell with a p-cell or soft Plastazote top cover. It is helpful to accommodate the bony deformities with cutouts/build ups on the positive cast.