Tethered Spinal Cord | Symptoms and Causes

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Contact the Tethered Spinal Cord Program

What causes tethered spinal cord?

In many cases, children are born with a tethered cord because of a problem during the development of the spine. Tethered spinal cord can also occur after birth due to damage to the spine or from scar tissue after surgery.

What are the symptoms of tethered spinal cord?

The symptoms of tethered spinal cord can vary depending on the age of your child. Some people may not have any symptoms until they are adults, although this is rare.

Symptoms in newborns include:

  • an unusual dimple, raised bump, discoloration or patch of hair on the lower back
  • unusual anatomy of the genitals 
  • unusual anatomy of the anus
  • one leg or foot that is longer or larger than the other 

Symptoms in infants and older children include:

  • pain in the lower back
  • weakness or numbness in the legs or feet
  • problems standing or walking
  • loss of bladder or bowel control
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