This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Tethered cord syndrome is a rare neurological condition. The severity of the condition and the associated signs and symptoms vary from person to person. In some cases, symptoms may be present at birth (congenital), while others may not experience symptoms until later in adulthood. Features of the condition may include foot and spinal abnormalities; weakness in the legs; loss of sensation (feeling) in the lower limbs; lower back pain; scoliosis; and urinary incontinence. Infants and children with congenital tethered cord syndrome may also have tufts of hair, dimples, skin discoloration, or benign fatty tumors on the lower back. Tethered cord syndrome occurs when tissue attachments limit the movement of the spinal cord within the spinal column. In some cases, it may be the result of improper growth of the neural tube during fetal development, which is closely linked to spina bifida. Other potential causes include narrowing of the spinal column (with age), spinal cord injury, tumors, and infection. Treatment varies based on the signs and symptoms present in each person and the severity of the condition but may include surgery and medications to manage pain.
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