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It’s Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Month

Muscular dystrophy is an umbrella term for a group of neuromuscular conditions characterized by muscle weakness. There are several muscular dystrophies (over 30) but the most common one is Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). DMD is characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness due to a genetic mutation in the gene that produces dystrophin protein. Dystrophin is needed to strengthen and protect skeletal and cardiac muscle fibers. DMD is a disease related to the X-chromosome leaving the disease more likely to affect boys than girls. Girls with the gene mutation on one chromosome may present with muscle cramps, weakness and or heart problems. 

Individuals who are diagnosed with DMD have various characteristic symptoms: 

  • Muscle weakness, pain and stiffness 
  • Frequent falls 
  • Difficulty rising from a lying/sitting position 
  • Trouble running or jumping 
  • Waddling gait 
  • Walking on toes 
  • Large calves 
  • Learning disabilities 
  • Delayed growth 


At this time there is no cure for DMD but there are medications available to slow the progression of the disease. Various therapies, exercises and bracing options are available to help prolong walking, maintain muscle range of motion and strength and improve quality of life. Children with DMD often require a wheelchair by the age of 12 because walking becomes very slow and laborious. Life expectancy is shortened to the late 20s because of the breathing and heart problems that develop in early adulthood. 

Jessie’s Journey 

A local inspirational father and son duo created a foundation in 1994 to raise awareness and fundraise for DMD research and gene therapy. In 1995, Jessie’s father pushed his 15 year old son in his wheelchair from Manitoba to Ottawa (3339 km) and raised $1.5M. Three years later, the father walked across Canada (8300km) for 286 consecutive days and raised over $2M! Jessie’s Journey has now been rebranded to Defeat Duchenne Canada and continues to fundraise for gene and cell therapy research. The website is an incredible resource with information about DMD. If you would like to donate to this amazing organization please go to: https://defeatduchenne.ca. 

If you have any questions regarding DMD, we are more than happy to assist you. 


The Custom Orthotics Team (519) 850-4721 | office@customorthoticsoflondon.com | @cool_bracing


Questions? Comments? Contact us today!

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