Muscular dystrophies are a group of more than 30 inherited diseases. They all cause muscle weakness and muscle loss. Some forms of muscular dystrophy appear in infancy or childhood. Others may not appear until middle age or later. The different types can vary by symptoms, by who is affected and by which muscles are affected. All forms of muscular dystrophy grow worse as the person's muscles get weaker. Some people with muscular dystrophy eventually lose the ability to walk.

There is no cure for muscular dystrophy. Treatments can help with symptoms and prevent complications. They include physical and speech therapy, orthopedic devices, surgery and medications. Some people with muscular dystrophy have mild cases that worsen slowly. Other cases are disabling and severe.

Source: NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Why choose Ohio State for treatment of muscular dystrophy?

Diagnostic Expertise: At The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Muscular Dystrophy Clinic, we have nine neurologists board-certified and fellowship-trained in neuromuscular diseases, including muscular dystrophies.

As one of the largest neuromuscular centers in the country, we see all major categories of neuromuscular disease. Our broad range of experience helps ensure that if you have an uncommon or complicated condition, we can provide the answers and the care you need.

Team Approach to Care: Collaborating with our neuromuscular neurologists is a team of professionals dedicated to diagnosing and managing muscular dystrophies. We create a personalized care plan for you, and provide diagnostic tests and treatments within our clinic. Our medical team includes:

  • Neurosurgeons
  • Orthopedic surgeons
  • Pain management specialists
  • Physical therapists
  • Podiatrists
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Speech therapists
  • Social workers

Access to National Expertise: Because we collaborate closely with muscular dystrophy experts throughout the world, when you come to Ohio State, you have the collective knowledge of a whole network of medical centers supporting you. Our patients benefit from this knowledge of the latest findings in the diagnosis and treatment of muscular dystrophies and our access to the most current and relevant clinical trials.

Research: Ohio State’s commitment to basic science and clinical research backs up our clinical treatments with ever-increasing knowledge of muscular dystrophies. Work in the laboratory translates into more clinical trials for our patients.


Diagnosing Muscular Dystrophy

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center provides a full range of diagnostic testing for muscular dystrophy, much of which is not available at other facilities. Many individuals come to Ohio State for our state-of-the-art, specialized testing, such as genetic testing, muscle biopsy, electromyography, electrodiagnostic testing and neuromuscular ultrasound.

Genetic Counseling: Our genetic counselors work with you and your family to find a genetic testing option that allows us to make the most accurate diagnosis. Our counselors then help you understand your form of muscular dystrophy. Many forms of muscular dystrophy have a genetic basis, such as:

  • Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy
  • Facioscapulohumeral (FSH) muscular dystrophy
  • Myotonic dystrophy
  • Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy

For individuals with very rare muscular dystrophies, Ohio State offers the option of exome sequencing. This new technology tests thousands of genes at once to unmask difficult-to-diagnose conditions.


Managing Muscular Dystrophies

Treatment of muscular dystrophy focuses on supportive care - managing symptoms and preventing complications. One of our strengths is our range of therapies provided by experts who work exclusively with neuromuscular diseases. 

Therapists coordinate your care through our Muscular Dystrophy Clinic:

Other treatments include:

  • Orthopedic devices to support walking and movement
  • Medication for symptom management
  • Pain management
  • Spinal surgery for scoliosis or orthopedic surgery for joint contractures

We also offer new treatments through clinical trials. Ask your Ohio State physician if there is a trial that might benefit you.



Ohio State initiates clinical trials, participates in trials collaboratively with other institutions (including Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus on genetics clinical trials) and networks with other centers around the world to offer you the most effective treatment.

We are a member of the National Institutes of Health’s NeuroNEXT: Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials. This collaboration results in more promising treatments, more rapidly, providing patients like you more hope.

Enroll in a clinical trial

Clinical trials for muscular dystrophy treatments currently under way at Ohio State include:

Our Providers

Additional Information

Please bring to your first appointment all records, written reports and lab results from neurologists or referring physicians, as well as a CD of MRI and other imaging results. Also prepare a written family history of neurological diseases for our discussion during your visit.

Preparing for your visit