Hypotonia is impairment of muscle contraction that is characterized by abnormally low muscle tension or flaccid muscles.
Normally, even when relaxed, muscles have a very small amount of contraction or tone that gives them a springy feel and provides some resistance to passive movement.
Q: Why is muscle contraction impaired in hypotonia?
A: In hypotonia, muscle contraction is impaired due to a disconnect between nerve signals and responses of motor muscle. Motor muscles cause body parts to move such as the arms and legs.
Low muscle tone is not the same as low muscle strength, although these two conditions can co-exist. Muscle tone is regulated by signals that travel from the brain to the nerves and stimulate the muscles to contract whereas muscle weakness is a problems of muscles themselves.
In babies this condition is called “floppy doll syndrome.”
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