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Muscular Dystrophy

Taking a Strong Approach

As a parent, you want to help your child live a normal lifestyle in every way you can. But, when your kid has muscular dystrophy, it’s harder to do. When you partner with our neuromuscular team at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, finding a new normal for you and your child is our goal. Our neurologists and orthopedic surgeons team up to create a custom comprehensive care plan to best manage your child’s muscular dystrophy.

What is Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy is a group of more than 30 inherited diseases that cause progressive muscle weakness and loss of muscle in your child’s body. This is caused by a genetic mutation that interferes with the proteins muscles need to grow and be healthy.

Most children are diagnosed with a type of muscular dystrophy called Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Parents may start noticing symptoms and signs such as:

  • Difficulty getting up off the floor
  • Frequent falling
  • Inability to lift the head
  • Large calf muscles
  • Not walking by age 15 months
  • Waddling gait
  • Walking on toes

Progression of the disorder can lead to problems breathing, contracture of the muscles, curved spine, inability to walk and more. If your child is exhibiting any of these symptoms, contact our Muscular Dystrophy Clinic today.

Start a Plan for Long-term Care

After your child is diagnosed, there are a variety of care options for your child. Treatments include medications, such as steroids, to keep your child’s muscles as strong as possible and reduce further progression of weakness. Physical therapy is another option, including range-of-motion exercises and orthopedic devices, such as bracing, to support muscles.

In some instances, your child may require surgery to straighten their spine. The weakened muscles around the spine can encourage spinal curvature, resulting in scoliosis. Our pediatric orthopedic team is able to straighten the spine with a spinal fusion.