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Klumpke’s Paralysis

What is Klumpke’s Paralysis?

It is a brachial plexus injury that usually affects newborns as a result of a birth injury.

Can physiotherapy help babies with Klumpke’s paralysis?

Yes. Physiotherapy helps to speed up recovery, as well as, relief pain, prevent joint stiffness and improves functional use of the affected shoulder, arm or hand.

What causes Klumpke’s paralysis?

Klumpke’s paralysis occur during a difficult vaginal delivery, especially if a doctor pulls the baby out by the arm and uses too much force. This injury can occur in 4 ways:

  • Avulsion, in which the nerve is severed from the spine

  • Rupture, in which tearing of the nerve occurs but not at the spine

  • Neuroma, in which the injured nerve has healed but can’t transmit nervous signals to the arm or hand muscles because scar tissue has formed which puts pressure on it

  • Neuropraxia or stretching, in which the nerve has suffered damage but is not torn

How do I know if my baby has Klumpke’s paralysis?

  • The baby will present with a “claw hand,” where the affected forearm tends to lie flat and the wrist and fingers are tightened

  • Severe pain on movement

  • Numbness in the area supplied by the damaged nerve

  • Limp or paralysed arm

  • Stiff muscles

  • Muscle wasting

  • No feeling or sensation in the affected arm or hand

  • Weakness of the muscles of the shoulder, arm or hand

  • Drooping of the eyelids on the opposite side of the face (ptosis and miosis), also known as Horner’s syndrome

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