Preliminary studies have supported the utility of exercise as a treatment for Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease (CMT) patients. Despite being the most common inherited neuropathy, there remains a paucity of guidelines for CMT management.
A retrospective chart review was performed on 297 CMT patients. Self-reported exercise and strength results from standardized dynamometer testing were obtained from adult patients’ first visits. Values were converted and analyzed based on previously reported age- and sex-matched normative values.
Participants with CMT2 had greater strength values than those with CMT1 in hand grip, elbow flexion, and dorsiflexion (p<0.05). Participants with CMT1 and CMT2 who exercised were statistically significantly stronger in elbow flexion and dorsiflexion than those who did not exercise.
These preliminary results suggest that self-directed exercise is associated with greater strength in CMT patients of both CMT1 and CMT2 subtypes. Self-directed exercise may be a convenient, sustainable, and effective method of improving strength and decreasing disability in this population. Future research should explore the type of exercise prescription that best addresses the needs of the CMT population.