Spasticity

Spasticity is a condition of increased resistance to movement in the arms or legs due to neurologic injury.  Usually, spasticity is seen after a stroke or spinal cord injury or in the setting of multiple sclerosis.  Patients may develop stiffness of the joints at the knee or ankle or flexed fingers in the hand usually on the same side as weakness.  Untreated spasticity can impair hand or leg function and lead to permanent fixed postures of the limbs known as contractures.

Typically, spasticity is treated with oral medications but these medications can cause adverse side effects including oversedation.

Botox was FDA approved for the treatment of upper limb spasticity in 2010.  Injections of botulinum toxin are effective for treatment of spasticity and help relieve stiffness and muscle tightness.  Injections for spasticity are given every 3 months.

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