Hypotonia is another term for abnormally low muscle tone, which often results in reduced muscle strength. It is not a specific medical disorder, but rather a manifestation of a disorder that affects motor control. Identifying hypotonia is usually a straightforward process, however, diagnosing the underlying cause may be more difficult.
Hypotonia is not the same thing as muscle weakness, despite the fact that both may exist simultaneously. It is not always easy to find out what causes hypotonia, although the condition is most often linked to muscular dystrophy, brain injuries, cerebral palsy, Tay-Sachs disease, and general trauma.
An infant with hypotonia has a “floppy” quality when he or she is held, and children with this problem often lag behind in certain developmental milestones.
Symptoms of Hypotonia
The most common symptoms of hypotonia are problems with mobility and posture, breathing and speech problems, ligament and joint problems, as well as poor reflexes.
Children who are hypotonic will typically have problems with flexing the elbows and knees, which will cause them to hang loosely at their sides. They may also have poor or no head control.
There may also be twitching in the tongue and affected limbs, and the patient may experience muscle pain and cramps. Other patients will have difficulty swallowing saliva.
Hypotonia is most often diagnosed during infancy and may also be known as “floppy infant syndrome” or “infantile hypotonia”.