Certain tactics may prevent complications caused by Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and improve your ability to manage the effects of the disorder.
Started early and followed regularly, at-home activities can provide protection and relief:
- Stretch regularly. The goal of stretching is to improve or maintain the range of motion of your joints. Stretching improves your flexibility, balance and coordination. Stretching may also reduce your risk of injury. If you have Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, regular stretching can prevent or reduce joint deformities that may result from uneven pulling of muscle on your bones.
- Exercise daily. Exercising every day keeps your bones and muscles strong. Low-impact exercises, such as biking and swimming, are less stressful on fragile muscles and joints. By strengthening your muscles and bones, you can improve your balance and coordination, reducing your risk of falls.
- Improve your stability. Muscle weakness associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease may cause you to be unsteady on your feet, which can lead to falling and serious injury. Walking with a cane or a walker can increase your stability. Good lighting at night can help you avoid stumbling and falling.
Foot care is important
Because of foot deformities and loss of sensation, regular foot care is important to help relieve symptoms and to prevent complications:
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- Inspect your feet. Daily inspection of your feet is important to prevent calluses, ulcers, wounds and infections.
- Take care of your nails. Cut your nails regularly. To avoid ingrown toenails and infections, cut straight across and avoid cutting into the nailbed edges. If you have trouble with this task, consider having your nails trimmed by a foot doctor (podiatrist).
- Wear the right shoes. Use shoes that fit properly and are protective. Consider wearing boots or high-top shoes for ankle support. If you have foot deformities, such as a hammertoe, you may need to consider having shoes custom made.
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/charcot_marie_tooth/detail_charcot_marie_tooth.htm. Accessed Jan. 10, 2013.
- Facts about Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and related diseases. Muscular Dystrophy Association. http://www.mda.org/publications/facts-about-charcot-marie-tooth-related-diseases. Accessed Jan. 12, 2013.
- Aminoff MJ, et al. Clinical Neurology. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=66. Accessed Jan. 9, 2013.
- Patzko A, et al. Update on Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Current Neurology Neuroscience Report. 2011;11:78.
- Patzko A, et al. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and related genetic neuropathies. Continuum Lifelong Learning in Neurology. 2012;18:39.