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Common Erb’s Palsy Exercises for Infants and Children

By: Anapol Weiss

Erb’s palsy is a form of brachial plexus palsy that primarily affects the upper nerves in the shoulder and arm. This birth injury occurs when there is difficulty in delivering a baby’s shoulder and his or her brachial plexus nerves are ruptured or torn. If you believe your child was wrongfully injured during delivery speak to one our a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer now and discuss your case.

Erb’s palsy symptoms in the affected arm range from weakness and limited range of motion to paralysis. Although the effects of severe brachial plexus palsy can never be totally reversed, exercise can alleviate pain and increase a person’s range of motion. Below are a few common exercises a doctor may recommend.

Erb’s Palsy Exercises for Infants

A physician and/or pediatric therapist will evaluate the infant’s specific injuries and weakness in order to create an appropriate exercise program.

Parents will likely be instructed to do passive range of motion (PROM) exercises with their baby to alleviate stiffness in the shoulder and prevent joint contracture. PROM exercises may involve gently stretching the arm away from the baby’s body, rotating the wrist, and raising the arm overhead. Depending on whether the infant has had surgery to repair some of the nerve damage, parents may be instructed to wait a few weeks to resume exercises.

Erb’s Palsy Exercises for Children

Older children with brachial plexus palsy will be encouraged to complete exercises on their own to maintain range of motion and alleviate stiffness. Recommended at-home PROM tasks may shift attention to developing independence as well as trying recreational activities that double as strengthening exercises.

Please note that this information is not intended to replace medical advice. Consult with your physician or physical therapist before making any decisions about your health or your child’s health.

Brachial Plexus Injuries during Birth Are Preventable

Physicians are expected to take appropriate action when a baby is suffering from shoulder dystocia during delivery. Failure to do so can result in permanent injury from the rupture or tearing of these delicate nerves.

Contact our firm for assistance if your baby is showing signs of brachial plexus palsy. Our birth injury attorneys what happened during labor and delivery and determine whether medical malpractice may be to blame.