What Is Klumpke’s Palsy?
Klumpke’s palsy, also known as Klumpke’s paralysis or Dejerine–Klumpke palsy, occurs after a brachial plexus injury. It is a permanent injury to the forearm, wrist, hands and fingers. A child with Klumpke’s palsy is usually unable to move his or her forearm, wrist and hand, which results in a claw-like hand presentation.
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Klumpke’s Palsy Symptoms
An infant with Klumpke’s palsy may exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:
- Deformed or “claw” hand
- Paralysis or limpness in the arm
- Weakness or numbness of the shoulder, arm, or hand
- Muscle Atrophy
- Stiff joints
- Drooping of the eye on the opposite side of the face
- Horner’s syndrome
What Is the Cause of Klumpke’s Palsy?
Klumpke’s palsy can occur from excessive use of mechanical forces. This may result from the use of a vacuum or forceps or excessive manipulation in a shoulder dystocia.
There are four types of acute injury that can lead to Klumpke’s palsy:
- Avulsion. The C8 and/or T1 nerve is completely severed from the spine. This is the most severe injury that can lead to Klumpke’s palsy.
- Rupture. The nerve is torn but is still connected to the spinal cord.
- Neuroma. Neuroma occurs when the injury has healed but scar tissue has formed that puts pressure on the surrounding nerves. This pressure limits nerve signals to the arm and hand.
- Neuropraxia. The most common and least severe injury, neuropraxia is defined by stretching of the nerve without tearing.
Klumpke’s Palsy vs. Erb’s Palsy
The brachial plexus is a network of five nerves (C5, C6, C7, C8, and T1) in the shoulder and under the arm. Klumpke’s palsy results from damage to the lower brachial plexus nerves, the cervical spinal nerve C8 and thoracic nerve T1. Erb’s palsy results from damage to the upper brachial plexus nerves, the cervical spinal nerves C5 and C6. Signs of Klumpke’s palsy include a claw-like-hand. Signs of Erb’s palsy may include the arm rotated inward with the wrist bent and fingers extended in a “waiter’s tip” position.
Options When Diagnosed With Klumpke’s Palsy
Klumpke’s palsy is a condition that may require rehabilitative therapies, such as:
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Attendant care
The medical costs associated with these therapies over the course of a child’s life can be substantial. It is important that in cases of medical negligence, the best legal representation be available to help advocate for you to recover the costs of these therapies and medical procedures.
Contact Our Klumpke’s Palsy Lawyers
If you suspect that your child has suffered a brachial plexus injury or Klumpke’s palsy, speak with our birth injury attorneys about your situation.