Sunday 6 September 2015

Symptoms (Feet & Legs) - CMT Awareness Month 2015 - DAY 6

Over the next couple of days, I want to start talking 
about the Symptoms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease 
in more detail.

If you've read my previous blog posts in this Awareness Month series, you'll remember that CMT primarily affects the feet, legs, hands and forearms.  But do you know how that looks, and feels for a person who has Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease?
Lets start with the feet, and legs.  

The feet and legs are the first parts of the body to be affected.   Developmental milestones such as crawling and walking can be delayed and small signs like tripping (due to foot drop) and general clumsiness can be noticed early in childhood.

The disease starts and develops at various ages in different people but other common features to develop in the feet and legs are:

Foot abnormalities, including High Arches and Hammer Toes.  Alternatively, a small number of CMT patients have unusually flat feet instead of high arches.
Image source:
Image source: My own foot!  Photo taken in 2009
Slightly further up the leg, and people with CMT can have very weak ankles, due to the lack of muscles supporting the ankle joint.  This lack of musculature is what also gives the lower legs the classic "inverted champagne bottle" shape.
Image source: Pinterest  

All this muscle wastage and bone deformity is ultimately caused by disrupted signals in the peripheral motor nerves running from the feet/legs to the brain and spinal cord.  The resulting weakness causes balance issues and problems with general mobility.

This nerve damage also causes sensory problems in the feet and legs including reduced (or completely numb) sensation.  This can result in injuries such as shoes rubbing the skin raw and burns from plunging feet first into a bath that is scalding hot.  Cold feet are usually very common, and I mean cold!  Cramping, electric shock type pains, and the sensations of creepy crawly skin are all other symptoms which result from damage to the sensory nerves.

In later posts I will cover some of the treatments and daily living aids that can help people with CMT to manage many of these problems and live a reasonably happy and full life.

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So, thank you for sticking with me once again.
Do please leave me a comment below to let me know you stopped by!

I want to end today with a little humor again.  This meme makes me chuckle as it is so "me"!
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Tomorrow I'm going to cover the 
Hands and Arms, so pop back and visit then!

To read my other Awareness Month posts, simply click on the "Awareness Month" tag at the very bottom of any of these posts!
If you are interested in finding out more, the UK's official charity for the disease, CMT United Kingdom, have a wealth of information.


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