What is Arthrogryposis?

Arthrogryposis is a congenital (present at birth) condition characterized by the reduced mobility of many joints. The joints are fixed in various postures and lack muscle development and growth. There are many different types of Arthrogryposis and the symptoms vary among affected children. In mild cases only a few joints are affected, and the range of motion may be almost normal. In the most severe cases, nearly every body joint may be affected including the jaw and back. The Distal form of Arthrogryposis involves the distal joints (joints away from the center of the body) and includes several subtypes which categorize the various combinations of anomalies. The most common form of Arthrogryposis, which accounts for about 40% of the cases, is called Amyoplasia. In Amyoplasia the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, feet, and knees are affected. The typical deformities are often severe and symmetrical. The limbs are usually fixed, shoulders are internally rotated, elbows are extended, wrists and digits are flexed, hips may be dislocated and slightly flexed, and the feet may have clubfoot deformity. Intelligence and sensation, however, are usually normal. Arthrogryposis may be associated with other conditions such as Spina Bifida, Trisomy 18, Amniotic Band Syndrome, and Poland’s Syndrome.

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