Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease - Muscular Dystrophy Queensland

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT)

In CMT, the peripheral nerves degenerate and can no longer stimulate muscle function, resulting in progressive muscle weakness, most commonly in the hands, feet, legs and arms. 

Peripheral nerves carry signals from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles and transmit sensations, such as touch and pain, from the rest of the body to the brain and spinal cord.

CMT is also known as:

  • Hereditary and Motor Sensory Neuropathy
  • Peroneal Muscular Atrophy

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease was named after Jean-Martin Charcot, Pierre Marie and Howard Tooth, three French neurologists who first described the condition in 1886.


Symptoms and severity of CMT vary greatly from person to person. The symptoms of the most common forms of CMT usually appear before the age of 20.

  • Clumsiness, tripping, and falling are often the first signs of weakening and wasting muscles in the lower legs and feet.
  • High arches in the feet (known as pes cavus) and curled toes (hammer toes) – leading to unstable ankles and feet.
  • The inability of the foot to remain horizontal when lifted off the ground (known as foot drop) – resulting in an awkward high-stepping gait.
  • Numbness in the feet and legs. This can lead to inadvertent injury in severe cases of numbness. Regular checking of affected areas becomes important.
  • Problems with maintaining balance
  • Hand weakness and numbness. As the condition progresses some people experience hand tremors.

There are several types of CMT, you can find information about the types by visiting:

Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease

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Medical Alert Cards

Medical Alert Cards

Muscular Dystrophy Queensland has created condition-specific alert cards for the most diagnosed muscle-wasting conditions.

These cards mean that people living with muscle wasting conditions and their families will have the security of knowing they can easily inform emergency health care professionals of the vital and specific issues that affect children and adults with these conditions.

Order our Medical Alert Card for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease today

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