Arthrogryposis multiplex congenital (AMC), or simply arthrogryposis, describes congenital joint contracture in two or more areas of the body. It derives its name from Greek, literally meaning "curving of joints". Children born with one or more joint contractures have abnormal fibrosis of the muscle tissue causing muscle shortening, and therefore are unable to perform active extension and flexion in the affected joint or joints. AMC has been divided into three groups: amyoplasia, distal arthrogryposis, and syndromic. Amyoplasia is characterized by severe joint contractures and muscle weakness. Distal arthrogryposis mainly involves the hands and feet. Types of arthrogryposis with a primary neurological or muscle disease belong to the syndromic group.
The treatment of arthrogryposis includes occupational therapy, physical therapy, splinting and surgery. The primary long-term goals of these treatments are increasing joint mobility, muscle strength and the development of adaptive use patterns that allow for walking and independence with activities of daily living. Since arthrogryposis includes many different types, the treatment varies between patients depending on the symptoms. Only a few good articles exist in which a surgical technique that is used to treat arthrogryposis is described.
People with AMC look their worst at birth. AMC is considered non-progressive, so with proper medical treatment, things can improve. The joint contractures that are present will not get worse than they are at the time of birth. There is no way to completely resolve or cure AMC. But with proper treatment, most children make significant improvements in their range of motion and ability to move their limbs which enables them to do activities of daily life, and live relatively normal lives. Therapeutic interventions that are cornerstone in the treatment of AMC include: stretching and range of motion exercises, physical, occupational, and speech therapy, splinting and serial casting. Surgical intervention may also improve joint mobility and function. Other positive prognostic factors for independent walking were active hips and knees, hip flexion contractures of less than 20 degrees and knee flexion contractures less than 15 degrees without severe scoliosis.