Infant Developmental Abnormalities

Not all symptoms of birth injuries are immediate. If an infant experiences hypoxia or anoxia (oxygen deprivation), turning blue is an immediate response. However, the human brain is an unusual, unpredictable organ that may take months or years to manifest symptoms from an injury. Some developmental abnormalities may arise as you’re watching your toddler grow, while others may surface immediately.

As a parent or loved one, it’s important to understand what infant developmental abnormalities are, when and how they surface, and the treatment options available.

Dragging Leg When Walking

The moment has come when your baby has gone from crawling to walking, and you want to be overjoyed that the developmental milestone has been reached, but it’s understandable that any parent would be concerned if one leg is dragging while walking. This is one of the many symptoms of cerebral palsy, yet according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are variety of reasons while someone drags one leg while walking, including:

  • Juvenile arthritis
  • Foot problems
  • Myositis
  • Infections and/or leg injury
  • Different lengths in legs
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Neuropathy

In order to determine the reason your child is walking while dragging a leg, physicians will generally run a series of test and exams. The types of tests performed will depend upon the results of an initial physical exam, in which the legs, nervous system, and bones are analyzed.

Involuntary Pulling of the Neck

When infants involuntary pull their necks back, it could be indicative of several issues. If it happens while you’re feeding your baby, this may indicate gastrointestinal influx, or may just be that your infant feels the food and/or drink is too hot.

In some instances, infants are simply extremely tired and their necks will involuntarily pull back when falling asleep.

Medical conditions such as cerebral palsy and cervical dystonia are also common reasons of involuntary neck pulling, and treatment will typically consist of physical therapy, and in some instances, muscle-relaxant medications.

Loss of Bodily Movements

Ataxia is defined as the full use of bodily movement. Cerebral palsy is one reason for ataxia, but, if the loss of bodily movement is limited to an arm it may also be indicative Erb’s palsy, an injury of the brachial plexus nerves (the nerves between the shoulder, neck, and collarbone).

 Often Erb’s palsy can be cured through physical therapy, and in severe cases, surgery.

Exaggerated Reflexes or Absent Reflexes

Also characteristic of Erb’s palsy, your child may have a hard time communicating reflexes due to the nerve damage in the affected arm. Either reflexes are absent because the arm cannot be moved at all, or they can be exaggerated reflexes as your child is overcompensating for limited movement.

If your child is experiencing exaggerated or absent reflexes in the legs, this may a sign of cerebral palsy, as there are no brachial plexus nerves in the lower extremities.