Arthrogryposis Specialist

David S. Feldman, MD

Orthopedic Specialist located in West Palm Beach, FL

Arthrogryposis is a rare condition, affecting only 1 out of every 1,000 births. For those in West Palm Beach, Florida, who have these congenital issues, help is available from world-renowned orthopedic surgeon David S. Feldman, MD, and his team at The Paley Orthopedic and Spine Institute. Learn more about your options during a personalized consultation, which you can set up online or over the phone.

Arthrogryposis Q & A

What is arthrogryposis?

Arthrogryposis is a term used to describe a range of congenital conditions that cause stiff joints and muscle weakness. Also called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC), the disorder is named after Greek words meaning “stiff joints.”

Arthrogryposis can affect numerous joints, including those in your jaw, spine, arms, or legs. In some children and adults, only a few joints are affected, while others experience arthrogryposis in multiple joints and have limited movement.    

These conditions are rare, and are easily detected at the time of birth. Males and females can be affected, and most people with arthrogryposis have an average or above average intellect. The condition does not usually affect lifespan and is not progressive. 

What causes arthrogryposis?

Researchers are uncertain of the exact cause of arthrogryposis, but certain risk factors have been identified. One primary factor is limited fetal movement while in utero. Movement is a critical part of proper joint formation, and when that movement is limited, excess connective tissues can develop inside and around the joints. 

Additional causal factors for arthrogryposis include:

  • Not enough room in the uterus
  • Low volume of amniotic fluid
  • Uterine abnormalities
  • Certain medications
  • Certain neurological disorders
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Genetic predisposition

In some cases, it is simply not possible to determine the exact cause of arthrogryposis.

Infants should have all known genetic causes of stiff joints tested in conjunction with a possible MRI of the brain and spinal cord. Known conditions should also be ruled out.

What are some treatment options for arthrogryposis?

Dr. Feldman has more than two decades of experience treating children and adults who suffer from arthrogryposis. His current treatment approach focuses on improving joint function and increasing range of motion. 

Physical therapy helps by teaching targeted stretches and exercises that improve joint mobility. Occupational therapy focuses on teaching specific skills, like how to get dressed, how to eat, and how to use a computer keyboard. Adaptive devices can go a long way toward attaining independence in regard to daily routines. 

Surgical interventions can help improve joint function. In some cases, loosening the joints in the upper extremities, then moving non-essential muscle tissue from other areas can enable normal joint movement. Casting and splinting might also be part of the treatment plan. 

Treating arthrogryposis requires a team approach. Dr. Feldman works in cooperation with physical and occupational therapists, speech therapists, and child life specialists. There are even patient care coordinators to help manage the logistic challenges for families who travel to West Palm Beach for care. 

There is no cure for arthrogryposis, but working with a highly skilled surgeon like Dr. Feldman can help you or your child achieve greater independence and enhanced joint function. To learn more about why patients come from all over the world to seek Dr. Feldman’s help, call or schedule your consultation online today.