Babinski Reflex


Babinski Reflex, Babinski Sign, Extensor Plantar Reflex, Brissaud Reflex

  • Technique
  1. Using a blunt tool (e.g. reflex hammer handle) stroke the sole of the foot from heel to base of toes
  • Findings
  1. Normal Response in over age 2 years (down-going toes, Negative Babinksi)
    1. Plantar flexion of great toe and small toe
  2. Abnormal Babinski Test (up-going toes, Positive Babinksi)
    1. Dorsiflexion of the great toe
    2. Splaying or fanning or all toes
    3. May be associated with ankle dorsiflexion, and knee/thigh flexion
  3. Abnormal: Brissaud Reflex
    1. Tensor Fasciae Lata contraction (lateral thigh) in response to stroking sole of foot in Babinski Test
    2. Useful to observe when great toe movement cannot be observed (e.g. toe amputation)
  • Interpretation
  1. Positive Babinski Reflex is normal in newborns and may be seen in normal children up to age 2 years
  2. Suggests Upper Motor Neuron Lesion (pyramidal tract deficit) in age over 2 years
  • References
  1. Degowin and Degowin (1987) Bedside Diagnostic Exam, Macmillan Publishing, New York, p. 818