The symptoms of Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD) usually become apparent by 10 years of age. Early signs include “toe-walking” because of stiff Achilles’ tendons in the heels, and difficulty bending the elbows. Other early symptoms include weakness and wasting of shoulder, upper arm and calf muscles.
The contractures (joint stiffening) that occur early in EDMD may make arm, neck, heel and spine movements difficult. However, progression of muscle weakness seems to occur very slowly in EDMD and may not become a source of difficulty until later in life.