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Hypotonia means decreased muscle tone. It can be a condition on its own, called benign congenital hypotonia, or it can be indicative of another problem where there is progressive loss of muscle tone, such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. It is usually detected during infancy.
• An infant with hypotonia exhibits a floppy quality or "rag doll" feeling when
he or she is held.
• Infants may lag behind in acquiring certain fine and gross motor
developmental milestones that enable a baby to hold his or her head up
when placed on the stomach, balance themselves or get into a sitting
position and remain seated without falling over.
• There is a tendency for hip, jaw and neck dislocations to occur.
• Some children with hypotonia may have trouble feeding, if they are unable to suck or chew for long periods.
• A child with hypotonia may also have problems with speech or exhibit shallow breathing.
Your child's muscle weakness can be caused by several different diseases, and treatment cannot begin without sussing out the real cause. At Boston Children's, doctors have several tests available to diagnose the cause of your child's weakness. Once the diagnosis is nailed down, several treatment programs, including physical therapy programs, are at hand to help your child live a normal life.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”