We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Hypotonia?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Hypotonia is a medical term used to describe decreased muscle tone. People with hypotonia have limited resistance to movement, which causes their bodies to become soft and floppy. In a classic example of hypotonia, an infant lifted from the armpits will slide out of the parent's hands, because his or her arms don't have enough muscle tone for the infant to hold itself up. This condition usually occurs as part of another medical condition, although it can also appear on its own.

Most cases of hypotonia occur in infants, although lack of muscle tone can appear at any time in life. The condition may be the result of a congenital disease such as Tay-Sachs or muscular dystrophy, or an acquired condition, like rickets, hypothyroidism, or encephalitis. In all cases, the limbs pose minimal resistance when they are pulled into flexed positions, and the patient is unable to fully flex his or her limbs.

It can be difficult to narrow down the cause of hypotonia, especially in young patients. In some cases, it reflects a neurological problem which can occur anywhere in the brain or spinal cord, but it can also be caused by a myopathy, a problem with the muscles themselves. In cases where the cause is not evident, the condition may be known as “benign congenital hypotonia,” although in fact hypotonia is not always benign in nature.

People with hypotonia experience poor muscle control, and they can have difficulty chewing, swallowing, and talking. The condition may be severe enough to prevent the patient from walking and engaging in other physical activities, and it can become progressively worse over time if the patient is not given adequate supportive care.

When a patient is diagnosed with hypotonia, a doctor will usually recommend consulting a neurologist, along with other medical specialists who can narrow down the cause of the condition and offer treatment recommendations. Hypotonia cannot be cured, but it is possible to use physical therapy to help the patient cope and develop skills which can help him or her live independently. It may also be possible to make improvements in muscle tone with treatment which will help the patient enjoy a more active life.

If someone develops a sudden loss of muscle tone, he or she should be taken to the doctor for medical treatment, because the loss of muscle tone usually reflects an underlying medical problem. This is especially true in the case of infants, as infants cannot communicate with their parents about the symptoms they are experiencing, which means that parents need to be alert to symptoms which they observe in their children.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.