Seeing your infant’s arm towards inward and towards the body may be nothing more than the way they feel the most comfortable. However, if the posture continues for prolonged periods, it’s important to speak with a pediatrician as soon as possible to rule out a number of medical conditions associated with it.
When a child has cerebral palsy, he or she may have an arm bent in toward the body. Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that is often misunderstood as a muscular disorder because the neurology manifests as a muscular malfunctions, which is the arm bent in toward the body.
Sometimes the arm may not be bent in toward the body as much as it is in an unnatural angle (which is why occupational and physical therapists create orthopedic devices to help shape the muscles back toward a normal posture). Some parents may not also be exactly sure that the arm is always bent in toward the body as the muscle tone varies between stiffness and flabbiness, and the arm may also be spastic.
Erb’s palsy is also known as brachial plexus palsy as the nerve damage affects the Brachial Plexus nerves between the neck, collarbone, and shoulder. Because these Brachial Plexus nerves are damaged, moved, or broken, the arm does not move as it should, often resulting in an arm bent in toward the body. Other symptoms that characterize this birth injury could include paralysis to that arm, or intense pain or sensitivity to that arm.
If your child has a traumatic brain injury such as a brain hemorrhage at birth, your child’s arm may not operate as it should. The blood from the hemorrhage floods the brain an, in essence, drowns the other surrounding cells, thus creating more damage. Sometimes the neurological damage is extensive, extending to the operation of arms and legs.
Your child may have paralysis of that arm, or he or she may have partial paralysis, which is why the arm is bent in toward the body. If your child has a brain hemorrhage, these aren’t the only symptoms that he or she may have. Other symptoms include difficulty swallowing, lethargy, loss of consciousness, nausea or vomiting, weakness in an arm or leg, and seizures.
Klumpke’s palsy is a more severe form of Erb’s palsy when the child has very limited movement of the arm, and it is almost always turned in toward the body. Another characteristic of the symptom is that the arm is turned in toward the body and that affected hand is abnormally in a claw formation, very abnormal and obvious to ascertain.
Other symptoms include child is usually unable to move his or her forearm, hand, and possibly wrist flexors, the child will appear to have a claw-like hand. If Klumpke’s Palsy is related to Horner’s Syndrome, the child will also have a miosis (constricted pupil) in the affected eye.
Yet still one more birth injury related to the Brachial Plexus nerves, shoulder dystocia is generally a more mild form of the birth injury, usually only related to damaged nerves, rather than broken or moved nerves. Often the arm bent in toward the body is an extreme manifestation of the symptoms, and otherwise the child is often in pain regarding the arm, though he or she can move it.