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Key Points of CMT

CMT is a condition that affects the nerves in your legs and arms, known as the peripheral nerves.

cartoon nerve

Our body’s system of nerves is similar to a network of electrical wires.  Some of them, called sensory nerves, are designed to pass information back to the brain about what you can feel with your fingers, toes, legs and arms, etc.  The others are command pathways, telling your muscles to do something, like lift your left foot – and are called motor nerves.

Because CMT affects both types of peripheral nerve, you may experience motor problems as the command pathways fail to respond properly, causing weakness and wasting in your muscles and numbness/sensory problems, arising from the problems with the sensory nerves.

In brief, this is CMT.


is not life threatening

affects people very differently, even within the same family

slowly gets worse over time (is progressive), causing gradual deterioration of both the motor nerves and the sensory nerves

this deterioration causes the atrophying of the muscles in the foot, lower leg, hand and forearm

can cause foot drop walking gait, foot bone abnormalities (including high arches and hammer toes), problems with hand function and dexterity, balance problems, occasional cramping in the legs and arms and loss of some normal reflexes

may cause long term pain and chronic tiredness

is usually passed on from parent to child, with a 50% chance of the child inheriting the condition

is thought to affect approximately 23,000 people in the UK

Affects all ethnic groups equally throughout the world

Is the focus of major research, all over the world




Date updated: 02/07/2013

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