Advances in physiology and molecular genetics have promoted greater understanding of the various clinical manifestations of muscle disorders. For example, myotonia or profound weakness may be observed in sodium channel disease (e.g., paramyotonia congenita or hyperkalemic periodic paralysis), depending on the specific channel defect or with slight changes in membrane potential. Observed effects of anesthetic techniques have been essential to elucidating the primary muscular nature of myotonia. Commonly used anesthetic medications have potentially lethal (e.g., MH) or serious (e.g., myotonic dystrophy) adverse effects. Conversely, lidocaine or propofol may have therapeutic benefit for patients with skeletal muscle sodium channel disorders. Additional investigation is required to improve our understanding of how age, gender, or other factors determine the phenotypic expression of malignant hyperthermia. Future research holds the promise for more accurate pre-anesthetic identification of persons with heritable myopathies, especially those who are asymptomatic. Enhanced awareness of multiple organ system involvement in myotonic dystrophy is essential for planning perioperative care. Patients with periodic paralysis require that we know factors that incite or inhibit the development of their attacks. Advances in bench research and detailed clinical studies will further improve our ability to provide optimal care for patients with muscle disorders.