Over 600 known connective tissue disorders exist today
“Arthrogryposis” (arthrogryposis multiplex congenita) is a term describing the presence of multiple joint contractures at birth. A contracture is a limitation in the range of motion of a joint.
In some cases, few joints may be affected and the range of motion may be nearly normal. In the “classic” case of Arthrogryposis, hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, feet and knees are affected. In the most severe cases, nearly every body joint may be involved including the jaw and spine.
The joint contractures are frequently accompanied by muscle weakness which further limits movement. The baby is unable to move around in the womb freely and therefore the mother reports that she felt little movement while pregnant.
Arthrogryposis occurs in approximately 1 in 17,000 births in Australia. In most cases, arthrogryposis is not a genetic condition and does not occur more than once in a family. In about 30% of the cases, a genetic cause can be identified. The risk of recurrence for these cases varies with the type of genetic disorder.