What are the symptoms of the post-polio syndrome?
The common symptoms in a patient with post-polio syndrome as suggested by are as follows, gradual muscle or joint weakness, which is evident in the case of Robert as initially his left foot dropped when he was tired. A drop foot condition is when the muscles have only limited control and it tends to be in a position where the foot drops at the ankle. However recently, he has noted that his entire left leg gives way infrequently. In addition, muscle atrophy and decreased tolerance of cold temperatures are also indicators of the presence of post-polio syndrome which are again apparent in Robert’s case, as it is mentioned in the referral letter that his left leg is noticeably thinner and cooler when compared to the right leg. Finally, it is also stated in the letter that the left leg is shorter by 1.5 cm, which according to Janisse, when only one side is affected by the polio virus it can lead to the affected leg being shorter than the non- affected side.
According to Halstead, it is of great challenge to diagnose post-polio syndrome and that is due to the lack of the specific tests which can aid in the diagnosis. Hence the identification of the disease is completely based on a detailed patient history and a physical examination. Moreover, it is crucial to eliminate other types of conditions that may present with similar signs and symptoms.
There are three main indicators for post- polio syndrome, firstly the previous diagnosis of polio, which in Robert’s case is there as he has been told that he has caught polio as a child. Secondly, extended period of time without having further signs and effects, which is clear with Robert as he did not require anything to aid him until now. Eventually, gradual onset of muscle weakness, as they are not noticeable until they interfere with everyday activities, which is again present in this case as his left leg gives way occasionally.