Muscular dystrophy, commonly known as MD, is a category of genetic diseases that lead to progressing muscle weakness and atrophy. Each type is caused by a gene mutation that affects certain proteins that help with healthy muscle development. Not all of the genes have been isolated. Because there are multiple subtypes, the symptoms and progression vary widely. Some types show symptoms in adulthood, while the most common begin showing symptoms in childhood. Some types have a shortened life expectancy, while others include a normal or mostly-normal life expectancy. The quality of life also varies depending on what muscle groups are affected. Different types have different common symptoms. It's important to be aware of how different symptoms present when isolating the subtype and determining treatment.
A waddling gait is one of the hallmark symptoms of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). This is the most common subtype and tends to present with symptoms in childhood. Medical professionals refer to this type of gait as a Trendelenburg gait. A Trendelenburg gait is caused by weakness in the hip muscles, and while it can be a sign of multiple subtypes of muscular dystrophy, but it isn't always. Other conditions that can cause a Trendelenburg gait are nerve damage, osteoarthritis, cleidocranial dysostosis, and poliomyelitis. When the patient takes a step, the hip on the side of the leg that's swinging will drop rather than staying in place. It's also common for patients to counteract this hip dipping by bending their torso toward their other side, which further exacerbates the waddling effect. A similar waddle can sometimes be caused by orthopedic conditions rather than hip muscle weakness, and it might be observed after an injury to the glutes or hips. Regardless of whether the gait is related to DMD or not, it should be evaluated by a doctor.
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