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Case Reports
. Feb-Mar 1997;11(2):136-8.
doi: 10.1097/00005131-199702000-00014.

Bilateral Brachial Plexus Compressive Neuropathy (Crutch Palsy)

Case Reports

Bilateral Brachial Plexus Compressive Neuropathy (Crutch Palsy)

S Raikin et al. J Orthop Trauma. .


Brachial plexus compressive neuropathy following the use of axillary crutches (crutch palsy) is a rare but well-recognized entity. Most reported cases involve the posterior cord of the brachial plexus in children and have resolved spontaneously within 8-12 weeks. We recently treated a 36-year-old man who was using axillary crutches for mobilization after a supracondylar femoral fracture. Bilateral posterior cord (predominantly radial nerve) compressive neuropathy subsequently developed, with lesser involvement of the ulnar and median nerves. The patient had little to no improvement clinically 8 weeks after the estimated onset of the palsy, and an electromyogram at that time confirmed the presence of a severe axonotmesis lesion of the radial, median, and ulnar nerves bilaterally. The patient was treated with static cock-up wrist splinting and discontinuation of the axillary crutches. Return of sensory and motor function was delayed but occurred within 9 months.

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