Symptoms of Muscular Dystrophy

The first sign of muscular dystrophy is usually some sort of weakness, though this can manifest in many ways — trouble performing daily activities, tripping, or failure to meet childhood milestones.

Each case is different. First symptoms and age of onset can vary widely, even within the same form of the disease. This can make getting a diagnosis a long process, which is why it’s important that your care team includes specialists familiar with the range of muscular dystrophies.

Muscular dystrophy is most often diagnosed in children between ages 3 and 6. The most common signs of muscular dystrophy include:

  • Clumsiness
  • Walking on tip toes
  • Leg pain
  • Tripping and falling frequently
  • Trouble climbing stairs
  • Facial weakness
  • Arm and shoulder weakness
  • Difficulty closing the eyes
  • Large calf muscles from fatty deposits
  • Trouble getting up from a sitting or lying down position (a common sign of Duchenne muscular dystrophy)

Muscular dystrophy cause symptoms in other body systems as well, including the:

  • Brain
  • Endocrine system
  • Eyes
  • Gastrointestinal system
  • Heart
  • Nervous system