AMC- Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita

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Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita is a condition that causes many joints to be stiff and crooked at birth. A newborn with Arthrogryposis lacks the normal range of motion in one or more joints. A joint that lacks normal range of motion is called a joint contracture. These joint contractures develop before birth (prenatally) and are evident at birth (congenitally). Arthro means joint, Gryposis means crooked, multiplex means multiple and congenita means existing at birth or present at birth. Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita is an umbrella and descriptive diagnosis. This means Arthrogryposis can be caused by an underlying condition or syndrome. This underlying condition is usually the type of Arthrogryposis.


Joints that can be affected by AMC include the hands, feet, hips, knees, elbows, shoulders, wrists, fingers, toes, the jaw and the spine. Any and all joints can be affected but it is possible for some joints to be unaffected. No two people are affected exactly the same way.


The range of motion in the joints of the arms and legs is usually limited or fixed. This lack of joint mobility is often accompanied by overgrowth (proliferation) of tissue. This is called Fibrous Ankylosis.


At about the 5th to 6th week of pregnancy, the baby (called an embryo at this point) begins to develop joints. The joint spaces develop by 7 weeks, and the limbs can be seen moving by 8 weeks of pregnancy. This motion of joints is clearly important, as it allows the joints and structures around the joints (skin and ligaments, for example) to develop. If the joints do not move for any reason when the baby is a fetus (after 8 weeks of pregnancy) the baby will be born with joint contractures. The lack of joint motion when the baby is a fetus is known a fetal akinesia.


Most individuals with AMC have normal intelligence. So the limitations a person with AMC may have are usually only physical. How physically limited a person with AMC is or is not will depend on how they are affected. Some individuals with AMC are very mildly affected and they have very few physical limitations. Others are much more affected and may require assistance from a personal aide to perform daily activities. Some people with AMC walk independently; some may need a wheelchair for mobility. Adults living with AMC are doctors, lawyers, architects, authors, artists, teachers, parents, social workers among other things!

For more information about any of the children featured in this post please email nina at!


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