Due to precautions related to COVID-19, we have expanded our options for remote consultations. Please contact our office to discuss whether a full phone consultation or video conference is appropriate for your situation.

The physical impact of Erb’s palsy

Pennsylvania medical professionals work hard to ensure a safe environment for every patient. This is especially true for expecting mothers. But they are human and are as susceptible to making mistakes as anyone else. Today we will look at one type of birth injury that impacts newborn children. It is a type of palsy known as Erb’s palsy. 

OrthoInfo.com examines what Erb’s palsy is and how it affects newborns. Erb’s palsy is a type of brachial plexus palsy that affects the arm. It affects anywhere from the elbow to the hand. It can stunt a child’s range of motion. They may be incapable of lifting their arm at all. Most of the time, Erb’s palsy only affects one arm. But there are cases in which Erb’s palsy impacts both arms. 

There are several potential causes of Erb’s palsy. When it comes to newborns, the most common causes relate to the medical staff. Something must stretch or damage the brachial plexus nerves for Erb’s palsy to occur. If medical staff helps a child out of the birthing canal, it is possible for their shoulder to become stuck. If the medical staff does not use proper care to extract the child, the tugging damages their nerves. 

Brachial plexus damage is treatable through various types of therapy. Physical and occupational therapies may help. Newborns start on these therapy sessions early in life. The sooner they start, the better the prognosis is. Many treated cases of Erb’s palsy clear up within several years of birth. But living with Erb’s palsy in the meantime is still a difficult task that requires support.