PT on the Net Research

Congenital Myasthenia


I have a 19 year old male client with a rare condition called congenital myasthenia. This is causing muscular weakness, particularly in his legs. He is in a wheelchair but can just about stand up and walk a few steps. He has been referred by a physiotherapist to strengthen his muscles. Could you please advise me on a suitable program?


Congenital myasthenia is a disorder in which neuromuscluar transmission is affected. The severity varies among individuals and ranges from mild limb weakness to severe disability with life threatening conditions. Once diagnosed and treated, symptoms usually get better over time.

Here are some exercises that would be good to try with a client who has congenital myasthenia and has been cleared to exercise. Start slowly with one or two sets of these exercises two to three days per week. Pick a few of the exercises, do only what is tolerated and progress to more exercises and more reps. Proper warm up and cool down as well as stretching should be incorporated. As always, follow doctor’s orders and avoid any contraindicated movements.

Perform normal exercises with cable pulleys, resistance bands and/or dumbbells for upper body exercises. These can be done standing or sitting.

Water aerobics are also a great way to start since the water supports body weight. One study I read from the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise showed positive results in increased muscle mass from five grams of creatine supplementation per day in addition to resistance exercise.