Charcot-Marie-Tooth-Disease is a group of inherited disorders that can damage the nerves of your arms or legs or both. You may experience loss of sensation, inability or difficulty in walking and muscle contractions while going through your daily life activities. It results in smaller and weaker muscles. You may also go through foot deformities such as hammertoes and high arches. These symptoms are mostly seen in adolescence or adult life. Charcot-Marie-Tooth-Disease cannot be treated completely. However, the troubles you face in the disease can be lessened. If you are going through pain in your arms and legs, medications may help you getting through. You can go for physical therapy, occupational therapy or take assistance from orthopaedic devices. In extreme cases, you may go for surgery.
Pain from muscle cramps or nerve damage can be relieved by certain medications prescribed by doctors. Physical therapy involves low impact exercises and stretching techniques to help strengthen your muscles and prevent muscle tightening and loss. This will be guided by a trained physio therapist and approved by your doctor. You may face difficulties in getting through daily activities due to weak arms and hands. An occupational therapist will assist you in getting over these difficulties that can be writing, typing, tying knots etc. Assistive devices like special rubber grip on doorknobs will be used in this process. To maintain everyday mobility and prevent injuries you may have to take assistance from some special orthopaedic devices. Leg and ankle braces can be used while walking. Such braces or frames provide stability to the sufferer. You can also get custom made shoes to improve the gait. Thumb splints can be used if you have weakness in your hands and have troubles in holding or gripping. Surgery may be an option if your foot deformities are severe. Surgery will not improve sensation and weakness in limbs but it may improve your ability to walk.
If you feel constant weakness in your legs, arms, hands, feet and ankles, you must get it checked by a doctor. Curled toes, decreased ability to run, high foot arches, frequent tripping or falling and decreased sensation in your legs or arms are some other symptoms you should look out for.
If you are going through some other medical treatment, the pain in legs and arms may be due to the side effects of the medications you are already taking.
Some gels or ointments applied during physical therapy may cause mild irritation, itchiness or redness in your skin for some time. Other than this, no other treatment is known to cause side effects.
You must exercise and stretch daily and keep your limbs in as active condition as you can. Improve your stability by taking help from a cane or walker while walking. Check your feet daily to prevent the occurrence of ulcers, infections, calluses and wounds. Cut your nails straight across to avoid ingrown nails and infections. If you have foot deformities or hammertoes, you must explore the option of custom made shoes.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth-Disease is not fully curable. You may get relief from pain in a few days after going through a treatment but the condition cannot be changed.
One session of physio therapy may cost between ₹400 to ₹800. Cost of other treatments may vary according to the severity of your condition and the devices needed to improve your condition.
The result of any treatment for Charcot-Marie-Tooth-Disease is not permanent. You may get relief from pain for some time but the disease cannot be cured permanently.
There are no alternatives to these treatments but you can do some activities to assist the treatments. You must stretch and exercise daily. Inspect your feet regularly and take care of your nails to avoid ingrown toenails and infections. Always wear properly fitting and protective shoes.