Diagnosing Charcot Marie Tooth Disease

With the Final Four upon us, all of us avid NCAA basketball fans are focused on Kentucky, Michigan State, Duke, and Wisconsin. However, from a foot and ankle perspective, one particular team sparks an interesting discussion about a common podiatric condition. The Ohio State coach, Thad Matta, suffers from a dropfoot (difficulty lifting the font part of the foot) deformity.

One hereditary condition responsible for causing dropfoot is Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT), a genetic motor and sensory nerve disease resulting in a progressive loss of nerve function effecting both function and feeling.

Muscle weakeness of legs and feet present first with shuffling gait and progress to muscular weakeness and confinement to a wheelchair. It is necessary to visit a foot and ankle specialist, if progressive weakness is suspected. Severe forms of the disease can present as early as eight years old while less severe forms may not show up until the patient is in his or her thirties.

Upon evaluation, your podiatrist may notice a weakness in eversion strength as the first manifestation of CMT. Patients with this symptom are prone to recurrent ankle sprains, so tell your doctor if you constantly roll your ankles. Later progression of the disease will present as weakness of other lower front leg muscles and therefore a dropfoot. Compensation for a dropfoot results in a “steppage gait” as the patient takes high steps to clear the forefoot from the ground. Degeneration of said muscles gives the leg a “stork leg” appearance. Here at Cast a Foot Podiatry in Hempstead, NY we will also test your reflexes as they tend to weaken in CMT.

If your doctor suspects CMT based on the physical exam, he or she may order nerve conduction studies. This can diagnose CMT based on the impaired function of the peripheral nerves. DNA molecular testing is also available. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, your podiatrist will discuss the treatment options with you. Check back next week for a discussion on the treatment of CMT.


Dr. Nicole M. Castillo 

Our Location

Find us on the map

Hours of Operation

Our Hempstead Office


9:00 am-7:00 pm


10:30 am-5:00 pm


9:00 am-5:00 pm


12:00 pm-5:00 pm


9:00 am-4:00 pm


12:00 pm-3:00 pm