Managing Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease

The right kind of management can make a huge difference in outcomes. When it comes to sports, you can see this demonstrated in the exhibit “Ready, Set, ZOT!: UCI Athletics Since ‘65” at UC Irvine’s Langson Library, ending April 1. While Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is no game, approaching its symptoms with a good plan and a determined spirit is still highly important.

There is unfortunately no cure yet for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and the neuropathy and other symptoms associated with it tend to progress slowly over time. It does not shorten one’s life, however, and treatment has the goal of limiting the effects of symptoms on one’s enjoyment of life as much as possible.

Physical therapy can be a primary element in slowing the progression of nerve and muscle deterioration by strengthening and conditioning the feet and other affected areas. This form of therapy is best started soon after diagnosis and then continued faithfully through life. The program will generally entail the use of low-impact exercises that our doctors will approve.

Depending on your career, you may benefit from occupational therapy. This practice helps patients to deal with the physical challenges that are created by the disease and may incorporate the use of assistive devices. Those devices tend to be more commonly used when the condition affects the upper limbs, but we will always assess how the disease affects a patient and determine if lower-body assistance is needed.

More common for our patients, however, are orthopedic devices. Splints, ankle braces, or even high-top shoes or boots may be prescribed or used to prevent injury, maintain mobility, and reduce the risk of further physical damage to the lower limbs. Custom orthotic devices are helpful for an array of medical conditions, including this one.

The doctors at California Foot & Ankle Institute will help you find effective ways to manage your Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Simply use our web contact forms or call to make an appointment with us. For our Irvine office, call (949) 833-3406. You can also call us toll free at (888) 796-6631.

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