Peroneal muscular atrophy is really a group of hereditary diseases that involve your peripheral nerves. Your peripheral nerves are your nerves that are located outside of your spinal cord and brain, which make up your central nervous system.
Your peripheral nerves are what supply the sensory muscles and organs in your legs and feet and arms and hands. Diseases and disorders that involve your peripheral nerves are known as peripheral neuropathies.
What is Peroneal Muscular Atrophy?
Peroneal muscular atrophy is a slowly progressive disease that is characterized by the gradual loss of the normal use of your feet and legs and hands and arms. This takes place as a result of the nerves to these limbs degenerating. Also, the muscles of your limbs start to weaken (waste) because of the loss of stimulation by the affected peripheral nerves.
Peroneal muscular atrophy was first identified by three doctors in 1886. They were Jean-Martin Charcot, Pierre Marie and Howard Henry Tooth.
Peroneal muscular atrophy is referred to in other ways. It is also known as hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy, hereditary sensorimotor neuropathy and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
Peroneal muscular atrophy is the most common inherited neurological disease in the United States. Somewhere around 1out of every 2500 people in this country are afflicted by this disease.
Peroneal muscular atrophy is caused by mutations (alterations, defects) that take place in your genes that are connected with the structure and function of the peripheral nerves that furnish your arms, hands, feet and legs. However, researchers have not yet discovered what causes these mutations to take place.
As mentioned at the beginning, peroneal muscular atrophy is a genetic (hereditary) disease. Most of the time, this disease is inherited in what is known as an autosomal dominant pattern. What this means is that you only have to inherit a defective gene from one of your parents in order to have the possibility of having peroneal muscular atrophy.
Peroneal Muscular Atrophy Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms that are caused by peroneal muscular atrophy usually start in adolescence or early adulthood. However, the signs and symptoms of this disease may originate anywhere from early childhood until late adulthood.
The signs and symptoms of peroneal muscular atrophy may be so mild that you may not even know that you have this disease. The signs and symptoms of peroneal muscular atrophy vary greatly, even in members of the same family who have this disease. Some of the signs and symptoms include:
- The loss of muscle bulk in your legs and feet
- Numbness and pain in your feet and legs
- An awkward or higher than normal step (gait)
- Footdrop (a problem with lifting your foot at your ankle)
- A decrease in sensation in your legs and feet
- The development of curled toes (hammertoes)
- Tripping or falling often
- Weakness that occurs in your feet, ankles and legs
- The occurrence of high foot arches
- A decrease in your ability to run.
As peroneal muscular atrophy progresses, your signs and symptoms may also involve your hands, arms and thighs, as well as your feet and legs.
Have you reached a point where you are no longer able to work because of peroneal muscular atrophy and/or complications that have arisen from it or other conditions that you have in addition to this disease? Because of your disability, have you been trying to find financial help? Complete our free evaluation form to speak with an advocate or attorney today.