Inherited Neuropathies and CMT

Inherited diseases of the nervous system affect 1 in 2,500 people in the United States. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is the most common inherited neuropathy. Inherited neuropathies cause damage to the nerves that control your muscles, most commonly in the feet and hands. It affects both your motor and sensory nerves so you may lose the sense of heat, cold and pain.

Charcot Marie Tooth Disease Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment


Symptoms of CMT vary in everyone and usually start to appear when you are a young adult.  

Common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty lifting your foot
  • Foot deformities, including a high arch and bent toes
  • Loss of muscle in hands and feet
  • Numbness, tingling, burning, or loss of sensation in your hands and feet
  • Pain in your hands and feet
  • Weakness in muscles of your foot and lower leg


The experts at Penn State Health start with a thorough physical exam and medical history by a neurologist (nervous system doctor). Other testing may include:

  • Autonomic testing – measures how nerves respond to stimulation
  • Bloodwork
  • Nerve biopsy – remove a small tissue sample to detect disease
  • Electromyography (EMG) – assesses muscle and motor nerve cell health
  • Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) – electoral test to assess nerve impulses and detect nerve injury

Services and Treatments

There is no cure for CMT, but treatments can help you manage the symptoms and improve your quality of life. Treatments may include:

  • Lifestyle modifications (exercise and diet)
  • Medication
  • Occupational therapy
  • Orthopedic devices (braces, splints)
  • Physical therapy

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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

The experts at Penn State Health are committed to providing comprehensive, cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment options for patients with CMT. Our health care team works with families and caregivers to create unique plans to give you the best possible quality of life.

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