Diseases & Conditions

Babinski Reflex


Results and Values

What do the test results mean?

In a healthy person over the age of 2 years old, the toes curl downward when the bottom of the foot is stroked. This is considered a normal reflex. If the big toe curls upward, and the other toes curl upward and fan apart, this is considered an abnormal response. An abnormal Babinski reflex may indicate brain or spinal cord damage from many causes. For example, an abnormal reflex may result from:

  • a stroke
  • a brain tumor
  • a head, neck, or back injury affecting the brain or spinal cord
  • multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease affecting the nerve linings
  • In some cases, the test cannot give accurate or definite results. In these cases, other tests may be performed to check for brain or spinal cord damage.