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The difference between Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy

Birth injuries are an often-avoidable occurrence that happen during the birthing process. Two such injuries are Klumpke’s palsy and Erb’s palsy, both named for the doctors that first reported the conditions. Both of these injuries are due to damage of the brachial plexus nerve bundle in the neck, but they manifest differently.

Klumpke’s palsy is a condition that is caused by damage to the lower part of the brachial plexus, which controls muscles and feeling in the arm. This can result in a loss of sensation and mobility in the forearm and the hand. It becomes very noticeable in instances of “claw hand,” characterized by tightened fingers. 

Erb’s palsy is also a brachial plexus issue, but it affects the upper parts of the arm. The area from the shoulder to the elbow tends to be numb or weak. The arm may also be limp at the side of the body, with the elbow bent inward.

There are four different causes of these birth injuries to the brachial plexus. The first is neurapraxia. This happens when a nerve is stretched out, but it does not tear. This is often the easiest injury to recover from. Similarly, a neuroma occurs when the nerve is stretched and scarring happens, blocking the nerve from transmitting messages.

The last two are more severe. If a nerve becomes ruptured, it is torn apart. This can be remedied by transplanting another nerve into its place. The final cause of Erb’s and Klumpke’s palsies is an avulsion. This occurs when the nerve is completely torn away from the spinal cord, which cannot be reattached.

If your child was born with either Klumpke’s or Erb’s palsy in San Antonio, it is important to contact an experienced attorney right away. They may be able to analyze your case and recommend a plan of action.

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