Distal myopathies are a group of muscle diseases which share the clinical pattern of predominant weakness in the feet and/or hands. Rapid advance in the understanding of underlying gene defects have to date separated more than 20 distinct disorders and many are yet without genetic characterisation. No definite diagnosis can be made on other grounds than identification of the final molecular genetic defect. Besides usual investigations including EMG and muscle biopsy, muscle imaging is very important in defining the precise pattern of muscle involvement. Based on the combination of age at onset, mode of inheritance, pathology and muscle imaging, the number of underlying candidate genes for a certain disease can be significantly reduced, which is of help for the molecular genetic approach.
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