Arthrogryposis is a term describing the presence of multiple joint contractures at birth. A contracture is a limitation in the range of motion of a joint. In some cases, few joints maybe affected and the range of motion may be nearly normal. In the "classic" case of arthrogryposis, hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, feet, and knees are affected. In the most severe cases, nearly every body joint may be involved, including the jaw and back. Frequently, the joint contractures are accompanied by muscle weakness which further limits movement.
Arthrogryposis in humans is relatively rare, occurring in perhaps one in 3,000 births.