Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) refers to a group of inherited disorders that cause weakness and stiffness of the leg muscles, which gradually gets worse over time. A person with HSP is likely to have inherited an abnormal gene from their parents that causes the long nerves in their spine to deteriorate. These nerves control voluntary movement. This means that muscles in the lower body do not receive the correct messages telling them to relax or contract. It leads to spasticity (abnormally stiff and rigid muscles) and weakness in the leg muscles, which progressively gets worse. Most forms of HSP mainly affect the lower body the arms and hands are usually unaffected. On average, the symptoms of HSP start in mid-adulthood, although it can start as late as age 70 or in young children.Reflexes become exaggerated, and leg cramps, twitches, and spasms occur, making leg movements stiff and jerky (called a spastic gait). Walking gradually becomes more difficult.Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms. Physical therapy and exercise can help maintain mobility and muscle strength, improve range of motion and endurance, reduce fatigue, and prevent cramps and spasms.
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Last date updated on July, 2014