An icon that marks all of our informational disease pages

Inclusion-Body Myositis (IBM)

Signs and Symptoms

Inclusion-body myositis (IBM) primarily affects men, although women can be affected. It occurs mainly in those older than 50.

IBM usually begins with the gradual onset of slowly progressive weakness in the muscles of the wrists and fingers, and those at the front of the thigh (quadriceps). The muscles that lift the front of the foot also may be affected. The weakness may not be the same on both sides of the body.

Trouble with gripping, such as a shopping bag or briefcase, and frequent stumbles are common experiences. About a third of people with IBM have some weakness of the swallowing muscles.

The heart and lung involvement seen in other inflammatory myopathies like dermatomyositis and polymyositis is not part of the IBM picture.

IBM is generally a slowly progressive disease, and life expectancy isn’t significantly affected. Most people with IBM remain able to walk, although they may require a cane or wheelchair for long distances. Some are more profoundly affected, and require a wheelchair full time within 10 or 15 years of the first symptoms.

For stories of families living with IBM, see our stories on Strongly, the MDA blog, or IBM stories on The Mighty.

Looking for more information, support or ways to get involved?