Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC), or arthrogryposis for short, is a diagnosis characterized by multiple joint contractures or stiffness of the joints. A contracture occurs when a joint stiffens, resulting in a fixed bent or straight position and restricting its overall movement.
With AMC, contractures occur before birth and are non-progressive, resulting in weakness throughout the body. Because of the number of joints affected in each individual, the severity level will vary. In some cases, as few as 2-3 joints are affected. In other cases, all joints are affected, including the jaw and spine. However, the most affected are the legs and arms, and the first seems to be the most affected overall.
The cause of AMC is ultimately unknown. However, in some cases, decreased movement of the fetus in utero may have been the cause of this diagnosis since it is essential for the development of joints. Without it, connective tissue forms around the joints restricting movement, which ultimately causes the joints to stiffen.
At CRIT, patients with AMC benefit from rehabilitation services such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy. The treatment provided by our therapists helps to maximize the range of motion throughout all joints, improve overall functional mobility, and increase independence with activities for daily living.