Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia

What is Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP)?

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 nerves in their spine to deteriorate. These nerves control movement, so the muscles in the lower body don’t receive the correct messages telling them to relax or contract. It leads to spasticity (stiff and rigid muscles) and weakness in the leg muscles, which progressively gets worse.

On average, the symptoms of HSP start in mid-adulthood, although it can start as late as the age of 70 or in young children.

Symptoms of Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia

Symptoms are likely to include: muscle stiffness and difficulty with walking, which slowly worsens to uncontrollable shaking of the legs when walking, poor balance and unsteadiness.

Many people with HSP develop foot drop, where they have difficulty lifting their toes and end up dragging them when they walk. They may keep tripping, especially if walking on uneven ground.

Other symptoms in HSP can be fatigue and bladder problems.

Treatment of Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia

Physiotherapy is important for muscle strength and to maintain range of movement. It may also be appropriate to consider electrical stimulation to assist with foot drop.

Following a detailed assessment, your physiotherapist will set specific goals with you and plan a programme of treatment which may involve: hands on treatment and stretches, specific exercises, suggestions of equipment or aids, practical problem solving and advice to improve day-to-day situations.

How can Neurocare Physiotherapy help me?

At Neurocare, we are all highly specialised in treating neurological conditions, so you can be confident that your physiotherapist will have the necessary experience to provide you with the specialist level of treatment which you deserve.