What Is Erb’s Palsy (Brachial Plexus Palsy)?

Erb’s Palsy, also known as Brachial Plexus Palsy, is an injury to the network of nerves (the brachial plexus) that supply feeling and control to the shoulders and arms. Brachial Plexus Palsy is an injury to the nerves in the neck and upper chest. The injury can result in a loss of movement and feeling in the arm, hand and fingers. This injury often occurs during childbirth if the baby’s shoulders become stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone, and the appropriate delivery techniques are not used.

There are four types of Erb’s Palsy (Brachial Plexus Palsy):

  • Neurapraxia occurs when there is stretching of the nerve without tearing.
  • Rupture occurs when the nerve is torn, but not separated from the spine.
  • Avulsion occurs when the nerve is torn from the spine.
  • Neuroma occurs when scar tissue grows around the injury, and places pressure on the injured nerve, interfering with the nerve’s ability to send signals to the muscles.

Symptoms of an Erb’s Palsy (Brachial Plexus Palsy) injury may include:

  • A limp arm
  • Lack of movement in the arm or hand. The affected arm may flop when the infant is rolled from side to side
  • Missing Moro reflex, which causes an infant to react when startled by a sudden, loud noise by stretching out the arms and flexing the legs
  • Inability to maintain the arm in a normal position (flexed at the elbow and held against the body)
  • Decreased grip on the affected side

What Causes Erb’s Palsy (Brachial Plexus Palsy)?

The brachial plexus nerves can be injured when there is excessive pulling of the baby’s head during delivery. While some factors may increase the risk of injury; like high birth weight or breeched birth, Erb’s Palsy can also be the result of improper delivery methods by your doctor or medical team.

If you believe your child has Erb’s Palsy (Brachial Plexus Palsy) caused by negligent medical care or mistakes, we may be able to help. Call Sokolove Law today to speak with one of our Registered Nurse Case Managers to review the care you received and help answer any questions.


Author:Sokolove Law
Sokolove Law

The Sokolove Law Content Team consists of writers and editors who work alongside the firm’s attorneys and case managers. The team strives to present the most accurate and relevant information for those who need legal help.

Last modified: March 6, 2019