Medical Definition of Arthrogryposis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Arthrogryposis: Joint contractures that develop before birth and are evident at birth. With arthrogryposis there is a lack of the normal range of motion in one or more joints. In normal embryonic development, joints can be seen moving by 8 weeks of gestation. This motion of joints is essential to the proper development of the joints and structures around them. Limitation of joint motion before birth leads to joint contractures and arthrogryposis. Prenatal limitation of joint mobility can result from neurologic deficits, muscle defects, connective tissue defects, and fetal crowding (in which there is not enough room for the fetus to move around freely in the womb).

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018