Polio (Poliomyelitis) is an acute, viral, infectious disease that in severe cases can invade the central nervous system and cause damage to nerve cells (motor neurons). The polio virus enters the body through the nose or mouth, developing in the throat and intestines and in the majority of cases no symptoms are caused.
In a low percentage of cases the virus leaves the intestinal tract and enters the bloodstream, attacking the central nervous system. The virus may then affect the nerves controlling the muscles in the limbs and the muscles necessary for breathing, causing breathing difficulty and paralysis of the arms and legs. Different types of paralysis may occur, depending on the nerves involved; it commonly affects just one limb, a leg or an arm. Cells that are not destroyed, but lose function temporarily, may recover however, if the affected nerve cells are completely destroyed, paralysis will be permanent.
Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS) may develop between 10 and 40 years after the initial illness, with symptoms taking an average of 30 years to develop; only people who have had polio can develop PPS. The causes of PPS are unconfirmed however, current theories suggest that the condition is the result of the gradual deterioration of nerve cells in the spinal cord that were damaged by the polio virus. The initial symptoms of PPS usually develop gradually and include:
• Increasing muscle weakness
• Muscle and joint pain
• Breathing or sleeping problems
• Sensitivity to the cold
Typically polio patients require an AFO or KAFO solution for their affected lower limb. These can be uniquely tailored to each individuals needs using contemporary or traditional materials and components.
If you would like to discuss your condition with our specialist team, please email us by clicking here or call +44 (0) 1425 481740.