Love Island star makes history as first contestant with Erb's Palsy - what is it?

Patsy Love Island promo picture
-Credit: (Image: ITV)


Love Island 2024 has kicked off with a fresh group of singles ready to find romance in the show's 11th series. Among them is Patsy Field, who has shared her experience of living with a disability.

In the opening episode on June 3, the office worker and influencer revealed to viewers: "I do have a condition. I have a disability on my right arm. It's called Erb's Palsy."

The 29 year old elaborated: "It doesn't affect me that much in day-to-day life. It's a little bit smaller than my left one. It just moves slightly differently. But, other than that it's just another wonderful, interesting, quirky thing about me."

Before entering the Love Island villa, Patsy discussed the modifications made to accommodate her needs, commending the producers for their efforts to ensure accessibility.

She expressed her gratitude, saying: "I've had loads of conversations with producers. I'm definitely being well looked after"

Patsy stands out as the first Love Island contestant to have Erb's Palsy, reports Wales Online. Patsy acquired Erb's Palsy due to birth complications.

The condition results in one arm being weaker and shorter than the other, stemming from nerve damage incurred during labour.

What exactly is Erb's Palsy?

The NHS describes Erb's Palsy as a condition that impedes a baby's ability to move their arm, caused by an injury to the nerves in the arm. Erb's Palsy, also known as Shoulder Dystocia or Obstetric Brachial Plexus Injury, is an injury that occurs during birth when the baby's arm nerve becomes stretched while passing through the birth canal.

Approximately 85 out of every 100 babies (85%) fully recover from this condition. Mild cases usually recover within one to eight weeks.

How can Erb's Palsy be treated?

Initially, Erb's Palsy requires rest rather than treatment due to its nature as an injury. This involves keeping your baby's arm supported and minimising shoulder movement.

After about five days, the nerve typically has rested enough to allow for the commencement of very gentle exercises. Parents with a child suffering from Erb's Palsy should be referred to a physiotherapist by a paediatrician.

The aims of these exercises will be:

  • To prevent your baby’s muscles from becoming short.

  • To prevent your baby’s joints from becoming stiff.

  • To give your baby the feeling of normal movement, so that when their recovery begins they will not have forgotten how to use their arm (remember those kicks and punches in the womb).

  • To continue to stimulate the feeling in your baby’s arm.