As Louisiana parents who have a child with Erb’s Palsy, many questions are likely going to arise. How will the child fare as they grow older? How badly will Erb’s Palsy affect the rest of their lives? Is there anything that can be done to lessen its impact?
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons describe Erb’s Palsy as a type of brachial plexus palsy in which the shoulders, fingers, hands and arms are affected by weakness to varying degrees. The severity can differ vastly from one case to another, with some experiencing weakness in certain parts of the arm while others may experience a complete lack of ability to move the affected limb.
Some babies are able to recover full or nearly-full movement through physical therapy, as well as returned sensation and strength. In other cases, Erb’s Palsy can be severe enough to cause permanent issues with mobility and feeling in the affected arm.
The National Institutes of Health states that the prognosis for Erb’s Palsy is overall very good, however. Between 80 percent and 96 percent of all patients are able to recover fully within the first year of life. This number reaches almost 100 percent as long as therapy is started within the first 4 weeks of the child’s life. Therapy can include passive and active motion range practice, physical therapy done in water, and wearing splints in order to prevent finger or wrist flexion contractures.
It can be scary to have a child diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy. However, as long as action is taken quickly, full or nearly-full recovery is a distinct possibility.