Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a condition that affects polio survivors. It can lead to muscle weakness and joint pain. It can happen 10 to 40 years after having polio.
The exact cause of PPS is unknown. It may be due to nerve and muscle damage from the original polio infection.
PPS is more common in women. Other things that may raise the risk are:
Symptoms may be:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may check reflexes, muscles, and nerves. PPS may be hard to diagnose.
Tests are used to rule out other conditions. They may include:
The goal is ease symptoms and help the person function better.
Options may be:
There are no current guidelines to prevent PPS.
March of Dimes
Post-Polio Health International
When It Hurts to Move—Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Lo JK, Robinson LR. Postpolio syndrome and the late effects of poliomyelitis. Part 1. pathogenesis, biomechanical considerations, diagnosis, and investigations. Muscle Nerve. 2018;58(6):751-759.
Postpolio syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/postpolio-syndrome Accessed April 1, 2021.
Post-polio syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Post-Polio-Syndrome-Fact-Sheet. Accessed April 1, 2021.
What is post-polio syndrome? Post-Polio Health International website. Available at: https://post-polio.org/education/what-is-post-polio-syndrome/. Accessed April 1, 2021.
Last reviewed December 2020 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 4/1/2021