Imagine having numbness in your feet or hands. As if they fell asleep. It’s hard to use your extremities. They hurt. They may cramp due to the numbness. Now imagine if this didn’t just happen if you sat on your foot wrong or slept on your arm wrong. Imagine if you had to deal with this all day, every day.
Numbness is one symptom of a genetic nerve disorder called Charcot Marie Tooth Disorder.
You may not have heard of it – and quite frankly, 90 days ago I never had, either. That’s not uncommon. And neither is this disorder. Charcot Marie Tooth is one of the most common nerve-related disorders, and it’s inherited. In fact, about 1 in 2500 people have CMT.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, symptoms include foot deformity (such as extremely high arches), foot drop (the inability to hold a foot horizontal), loss of lower leg muscle, numbess in foot or leg, a “slapping” gate, or generalized weakness in the legs. Symptoms can also appear in the hands – including having a “claw-like” hand appearance. Generally, CMT begins to rear its ugly head in adolescence or early adulthood.
Right now, there’s no cure for CMT. Folks with CMT often have to wear orthopaedic braces. Physical therapy and occupational therapy are common. In the worst cases, patients often have surgery to correct foot deformities and alleviate pain.
As you’d suspect, there’s tons of research going on to find a cure for CMT. There’s also lots of resources on the web that provide information on CMT.
I’m proud to share that one group, the Charcot Marie Tooth Association, focuses 100% of their time, energy, and funds to supporting those with CMT. They offer resources, information, connections to doctors and other patients.
I’d encourage you to visit the CMTA website to learn more about CMT. If you’re inclined, please make a donation to support this worthy cause.