Task-specific dystonia is a form of isolated focal dystonia with the peculiarity of being displayed only during performance of a specific skilled motor task. This distinctive feature makes task-specific dystonia a particularly mysterious and fascinating neurological condition. In this review, we cover phenomenology and its increasingly broad-spectrum risk factors for the disease, critically review pathophysiological theories and evaluate current therapeutic options. We conclude by highlighting the unique features of task-specific dystonia within the wider concept of dystonia. We emphasise the central contribution of environmental risk factors, and propose a model by which these triggers may impact on the motor control of skilled movement. By viewing task-specific dystonia through this new lens which considers the disorder a modifiable disorder of motor control, we are optimistic that research will yield novel therapeutic avenues for this highly motivated group of patients.
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