What is arthrogryposis?

Arthrogryposis is the broad name for a group of rare conditions that cause stiff joints, limited movement, and below-average muscle development. Other names for the condition include arthrogryposis multiplex congenita and amyloplasia.

There are many forms of arthrogryposis; some are associated with certain genetic differences and can be inherited, and for others, the cause is less well understood. Symptoms usually include shoulders that are rotated inward, stiff elbows, and flexed wrists and fingers.

How is arthrogryposis diagnosed?

First, your child’s doctor will take your child’s medical history and do a physical exam. X-rays can help confirm the diagnosis and identify which joints are stiff or dislocated. The diagnosis may be confirmed after other tests are performed, including blood tests, muscle biopsies, and additional imaging studies.

How is arthrogryposis treated?

For most children, especially if treatment begins at a very young age, stretching exercises, splinting, and occupational therapy can help improve motion. If your child does not regain full function after using these treatments, surgery may be able to help.