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The Erbs Palsy Association
of Ireland
Charity registration number CHY13096

John Hurley


Tel: 086 66 66 200

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The lateral movement of the limbs away from the median plane of the body, or the lateral bending of the head or trunk.

To draw towards the main axis of the body or the limb.

Before or in front of.

A tearing away forcibly of a part or structure. An avulsed nerve is torn off the spinal cord in Erbs Palsy cases.

Brachial Plexus:
Network of lower cervical and upper dorsal spinal nerves supplying the arm, forearm and hand. These are the nerves affected in Erbs Palsy injuries.

Cervical Nerve:
Relating to the nerves which emanate from the upper part of the spinal cord.

Collar bone.

Permanent contraction of a muscle due to a spasm or paralysis. A condition of fixed high resistance to the passive stretch of a muscle, as may result from fibrosis of tissues surrounding a joint.

Shoulder Dystocia is defined as a delivery that requires additional obstetrical manoeuvres to release the shoulders after gentle downward traction has failed.

Relaxed, flabby, having defective or absent muscular tone.

Horner’s Syndrome:
Contraction of the pupil, the eyelid droops, and sometimes loss of sweating over the affected side of the face. The pupil is smaller than in the unaffected eye. It is caused by paralysis of the cervical sympathetic nerve trunk.

To insert a tube into a part of the body.


Cessation in function of a peripheral nerve without degenerative changes occurring.

Formal term for any type of tumour composed of nerve cells.

Surgery in which bone is cut and reset (usually twisted or rotated) into a different position in an attempt to improve use of the arm by the patient. Radial osteotomy is carried out on the forearm when the palm is facing either upwards or downwards. Humeral osteotomy is carried out on the bone between the elbow and the shoulder if the shoulder is stiff and the hand cannot be brought in front of the body, where it is most useful.

Peripheral Nerve:
A nerve relating to or situated near to the surface of the body.

Phrenic Nerve:
The nerve arising in the cervical plexus entering the thorax and passing to the diaphragm. A severed Phrenic nerve may occur in serious Erbs injuries and can cause serious breathing difficulties.

Toward the rear or situated toward the back.

Lying on the back or with the face upwards.

Subscapularis Muscle:
One of several muscles involved in the movement of the shoulder joint. It is buried deep under other muscles and cannot be felt. It causes the humeral head and the arm to rotate anti-clockwise on the right side when looked at from above. If this muscle is too tight it stops the arm turning outwards and also restricts elevation of the arm.