What is the Treatment?
For most types of arthrogryposis, physiotheraphy has
proved very beneficial in improving muscle strength and the range of
motion of affected joints. Parents are encouraged to become active participants
in a therapy programme and to continue therapy at home on a daily basis.
Removable splints can be made to augment the stretching exercises to
increase range of motion. Casting is often used. However, emphasis should
be placed on achieving as much joint mobility as possible.
Hydrotherapy or swimming in a warm pool is an excellent
exercise. Occupational therapy is useful when the upper limbs or hands
are involved. Speech therapy and/or jaw physiotherapy is useful when
the jaw is involved.
Surgery should be viewed as a supportive measure to
other forms of treatment when they have achieved their maximum result.
Surgery is commonly performed on ankles to put feet in position for
weightbearing and walking. Less frequently, surgery is required on knees,
hips, elbows and wrists to achieve better position or greater range
of motion. In some cases, tendon transfers have been done to improve
In the past, surgeries were often repeated as the deformities
reoccurred. With newer surgical techniques and careful follow-up treatment
with physiotherapy and splints, surgical success appears to be much
improved. However, before any surgery is performed, it is important
to be aware of the risks and the amount of improvement which can be
expected. It is wise to seek a second or even third opinion before proceeding
with surgery. If possible, talk to someone whose child has had similar
Since the term arthrogryposis refers to a group of
relatively rare conditions, few therapists or doctors have dealt with
very many cases. Therefore, it is advisable to contact doctors and therapists
who have treated a large number of patients with arthrogryposis. They
are usually found at the major children's hospitals.
*Information in this section is taken from a publication
of AVENUES, the arthrogryposis support group in U.S.A.