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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

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Other Names for this Disease
  • Charcot Marie Tooth disease
  • CMT
  • Hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy
  • HMSN
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Your Question

Can Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease cause a paralyzed vocal fold or a paralyzed laryngeal nerve?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease?

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a group of disorders that affect the peripheral nerves, the nerves running from outside the brain and spine.[1] Defects in at least 30 genes cause different forms of this disease. Common symptoms may include foot drop, foot deformity, loss of lower leg muscle, numbness in the foot or leg, “slapping" gait (feet hit the floor hard when walking), and weakness of the hips, legs, or feet.[1] There is currently no cure for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, but physical therapy, occupational therapy, braces and other orthopedic devices, pain medication, and orthopedic surgery can help manage and improve symptoms.[2]

There are over 40 types of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. You can search for more information on a particular type of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease from the GARD Home page. Enter the name of the condition in the GARD search box, and then select the type from the drop down menu.
Last updated: 7/23/2010

Can Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease cause a paralyzed vocal fold or a paralyzed laryngeal nerve?

Yes. Vocal cord involvement can occur in rare forms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.[3][4] Occasionally people with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2 have vocal cord or phrenic nerve involvement which may result in difficulty with speech and breathing.[4]
Last updated: 2/12/2009