Post-Polio Syndrome: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 11/12/2019

Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a condition that affects polio survivors years after recovery from an initial acute infection with the poliomyelitis virus. It is estimated to affect up to 50% of polio survivors.

Characteristic symptoms of post-polio syndrome include new weakening in muscles that were previously affected by the polio infection and in muscles that seemingly were unaffected. Other associated symptoms can include progressive muscle and joint weakness, fatigue, pain from joint and muscle degeneration, and muscle atrophy. In severe cases, muscle weakness can lead to difficulty swallowing and breathing problems.

Cause of post-polio syndrome (PPS)

The exact cause for post-polio syndrome is not known, but it may be related to persistent degeneration of nerve units following the initial polio infection.

Other post-polio syndrome symptoms and signs

  • Breathing Problems
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle Atrophy
  • New Weakening in Muscles
  • Pain From Muscle and Joint Degeneration
  • Progressive Muscle and Joint Weakness

Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.