Infantile Hypotonia (Floppy Infant Syndrome)
What is Infantile Hypotonia?
Hypotonia, or severely reduced muscle tone (the amount of tension or resistance to movement in a muscle), is seen primarily in children. It is not the same as muscle weakness but it can co-exist with muscle weakness. Hypotonia may be caused by trauma, environmental factors, or by genetic, muscle, or central nervous system disorders. Sometimes it may not be possible to find the cause of the hypotonia. While most children tend to flex their elbows and knees when resting, hypotonic children hang their arms and legs by their sides. They also may have substantial weakness and little or no head control, giving them a "floppy" appearance. Typical symptoms also include problems with mobility and posture, breathing and speech difficulties, lethargy, ligament and joint laxity, and poor reflexes. Hypotonia does not affect intellect. However, depending on the underlying condition, some children may take longer to develop social, language, and reasoning skills. When hypotonia starts in adults, it may be due to cerebellar degeneration.