Limb girdle muscular dystrophy

Limb girdle muscular dystrophy describes a large group of conditions, which mainly affect the shoulder and pelvic girdle muscles. The hip and thigh muscles also weaken and waste over time, causing increasing disability.

Symptoms and complications associated with the condition vary between the different types. In some people, the heart and breathing muscles are also affected, leading to life-threatening health problems.

Limb girdle muscular dystrophy can be diagnosed at any age. Its impact can vary widely between individuals even within the same family. Some people with milder forms of the condition will never become seriously affected. Others may struggle to lift their arms above their heads or may lose the ability to walk.

The muscles of the legs may deteriorate faster than those of the upper body. This means that people may have frequent falls, and may have difficulty walking longer distances, climbing stairs and getting up from the floor.

People whose heart and chest muscles are weakened by the condition can experience dangerous complications. It is important these symptoms are closely monitored by specialist clinicians.

About 25 percent of people with limb girdle muscular dystrophy do not receive a precise genetic diagnosis. Without this knowledge, it is hard to predict how their condition might progress. Precise diagnosis also helps suggest the best possible care and management of symptoms.

Muscular Dystrophy UK is funding two research projects to identify the genes and mutations that  cause limb girdle muscular dystrophy and to better understand how the condition progresses.

About 1,400 people in the UK are affected by a form of limb girdle muscular dystrophy.

Watch our information video below on what healthcare and support you are entitled to:


Find out more about limb girdle muscular dystrophy in our condition factsheets.


Near you

Find support and services in your area:

Keep in touch