Hot Topic: Arthrogryposis

Within the Division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery and the Center for Children we treat many rare and often potentially crippling disorders in children; one of these is arthrogryposis.

Imagine not being able to bring your hand to your mouth, or having knees with a 90 degree angle and feet that are turned in so far that you can’t wear shoes.

Literally meaning “curved (or crooked) joints,” between 400-1,200 children are born each year in the United States with this disorder. While there appears to be many causes, the commonality is that the children suffer, to varying degrees, from joints that do not move and muscles that are quite weak.

Over the last ten years we have optimized the care of these children from birth through adolescence and on, but there is still much to be done. This year we are embarking on a major expansion of our arthrogryposis center, in three key areas:

  • Developing an upper and lower extremity gait lab in order to understand and more accurately treat children with this and other neuromuscular (nerves and muscle) diseases. The upper extremity lab will be unique in understanding how various interventions may help children achieve improved function and independence.
  • Unifying the care of children with arthrogryposis, utilizing resources within NYU Langone Medical Center and worldwide to enable patients to seamlessly receive care from multiple medical specialists needed for the optimal care of the child. This will be achieved with a dedicated, specialized staff ensuring each child and family is properly matched to the appropriate professionals.
  • Working collaboratively to “translate” basic laboratory research to the treatment of these children. We are embarking on a partnership and creation of a laboratory specifically for this goal.

These are lofty goals and we look forward to reporting on our progress.