Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Understanding Muscular Dystrophy -- Symptoms

Becker Muscular Dystrophy continued...

The first signs of Becker muscular dystrophy may be trouble walking fast, running, and climbing stairs. Other symptoms may include:

  • Muscle weakness that starts in the pelvis, shoulders, hips, and thighs
  • Difficulty learning how to walk
  • Waddling gait
  • Walking on the toes
  • Larger-than-normal calves
  • Muscle cramps when exercising
  • Trouble lifting objects above waist height because of shoulder and arm weakness
  • Heart and breathing problems (later in life)

Often children with Becker muscular dystrophy can walk. As they get older they may need to use a cane or wheelchair to get around.

Myotonic Dystrophy

The symptoms of myotonic dystrophy may be obvious from birth or they can develop later -- during the teenage or adult years.

Like other forms of muscular dystrophy, myotonic dystrophy leads to muscle weakness that gets worse over time. But it usually affects small muscles, like those in the:

  • face
  • neck
  • hands

Symptoms of myotonic dystrophy can start at any time in a person's life. The symptoms include:

  • Weakness in the muscles of the face, arms, hands, and neck
  • Muscle stiffness (myotonia) -- difficulty relaxing the muscles after they are tightened
  • Shrinking of the muscles over time (muscle wasting)
  • Cataracts -- clouding of the eye's lens
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Learning and behavioral problems
  • Heart problems, including irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)

The type of myotonic dystrophy that begins at birth is more severe. Other forms get worse very slowly, and can take 50 or 60 years to progress.

Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy

This form of muscular dystrophy is actually a group of related conditions. It usually starts in childhood or during the teenage years.

Often the muscles that become weak first are the big muscles of the:

  • pelvis
  • shoulders
  • hips

The muscle weakness gets worse very slowly over time.

Other symptoms include:

  • Loss of muscle in affected areas
  • Back pain
  • Trouble lifting objects
  • Difficulty running
  • Fast heartbeat (palpitations) or irregular heartbeat

How serious the effects are depends on the child. Some children have only mild muscle weakness. Others are so weak they need to use a wheelchair.

In its later stages, limb-girdle muscular dystrophy can cause serious heart problems.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration