Which physical findings suggest myopathies?

Updated: Dec 28, 2017
  • Author: Courtney A Bethel, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Objective weakness, usually in a symmetric distribution of proximal muscle groups is observed. Muscle tenderness is rare; muscle mass should be normal. Atrophy is a very late sign with muscle disorders. Deep tendon reflexes (DTRs) and sensory perception should be normal. DTRs may be diminished or absent in hypokalemic paralysis.

Fever may occur, particularly with pyomyositis or polymyositis. Normal level of consciousness should be preserved.

Skin examination may reveal Gottron papules, which are pink-to-violaceous scaly areas over knuckles, elbows, and knees in dermatomyositis.

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