Erb's Palsy Symptoms

Erb’s palsy is a condition caused by damage during delivery to the brachial plexus (a bundle of nerves near the shoulder). Children who have suffered a brachial plexus injury may have a weak or paralyzed arm on one side of their body because signals from the brain cannot reach their intended target.

Apparent soon after birth

The symptoms of Erb’s palsy are usually apparent soon after birth. Some signs that a child may have the condition are a lack of movement in the arm or hand, decreased grip, absence of the Moro reflex (a startled reaction when its head falls after being released) and weak or absent arm position.

Children who have suffered a brachial plexus injury may experience different Erb’s palsy symptoms, depending on the type of arm paralysis they have experienced. In most cases, a brachial plexus injury only affects movement in the upper arm.
Birth Injury Baby

Related conditions

With Erb’s palsy, both the upper arm and the ability to rotate the lower arm are affected. Children with Klumpke’s palsy, a related condition, may experience paralysis or weakness in the hands, as well as a drooping eyelid on the opposite side.

If a doctor suspects that a child has experienced a brachial plexus injury, he may conduct tests to determine whether Erb’s palsy is involved.

Most children with Erb’s palsy recover within six months. Range-of-motion exercises and massaging the affected arm may help in this process. However, if strength in the affected arm does not increase by this time, surgery may be required to correct the child’s Erb’s palsy symptoms.



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