Muscular dystrophy care

Muscular dystrophy is a name for genetic disorders that cause muscle weakness. Muscular dystrophy causes muscles to break down over time, creating fatty deposits. There are more than 30 types of muscular dystrophy; the types vary from mild to severe and affect different muscles. Some types appear in childhood, while others do not appear until adulthood.

Types of muscular dystrophy

  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD): The most common form of muscular dystrophy. It begins between ages 2 and 5.
  • Becker: The second most-common type of muscular dystrophy. While similar to Duchenne muscular dystrophy, this type is less severe.
  • Distal: This is a less severe form that usually advances slowly. This type is also called distal myopathy.
  • Emery-Dreifuss: This type causes weakness and affects the lower leg and upper arm muscles.
  • Facioscapulohumeral: This type affects the face, upper arms and shoulder muscles.
  • Limb-girdle: This is a group of more than 20 inherited conditions that cause muscle loss and weakness over time.
  • Myotonic dystrophy: This is the most common type of muscular dystrophy in adults. Symptoms can appear in infancy or childhood.

Muscular dystrophy symptoms

  • Trouble getting up from sitting or lying down (Gowers’ sign)
  • Awkward, clumsy movement
  • Trouble climbing stairs
  • Frequent trips and falls
  • Inability to jump or hop well
  • Walking on tiptoes
  • Leg pain
  • Not able to close eyes or whistle
  • Weakness in the shoulder and arms

Treatment options

Treatment plans are based on:

  • Your child’s age
  • Muscular dystrophy type
  • Extent of the condition
  • How your child reacts to medications, procedures or therapies

Nonsurgical options can include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Braces and splints
  • Positioning aids
  • Medications
  • Counseling

Surgery may be considered to help with your child’s ability to stand or sit. Surgery may be needed if your child experiences scoliosis.


Muscular dystrophy is a lifelong condition. We work with you to maximize your child’s functional potential.

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