We reviewed the literature on how muscle disease affects quality of life compared to healthy controls, and the factors that influence the effects of muscle disease on quality of life. We also wanted to know whether quality of life differed between muscle diseases. We searched online databases and identified 26 relevant studies. The quality of each study was assessed, results sections analysed and a database of factors associated with quality of life developed. We graded the level of evidence supporting the association between each factor and quality of life as inconclusive, moderate or high. Compared to controls, muscle disease compromised quality of life in all areas of functioning. There was little evidence to suggest that quality of life differed significantly between muscle diseases. There was a high level of evidence suggesting that disease severity, pain, fatigue, and mood significantly affect quality of life. There was a moderate level of evidence suggesting that illness perceptions, coping strategies, age and gender affect quality of life. Several factors had an inconsistent level of evidence.