Diseases & Conditions

Babinski Sign - Babinski Reflex

Overview & Description

A Babinski reflex is a body response that may be tested during a physical exam. This reflex, or involuntary type of response, is normal in small children, but not normal for those over 2 years old.

Who is a candidate for the test?

Testing for the Babinski reflex is usually done when th provider suspects head injury, brain disease, spinal cord injury, or spinal cord disease. The test may be performed as part of a routine physical exam.

How is the test performed?

The person is usually asked to lie on his or her back with legs resting flat on the bed or table. The test is performed on the sole, or bottom, of the foot. The examiner takes the foot or leg in his or her hand and the person is asked to relax. The bottom of the foot is stroked, usually with a special tool. The examiner observes the toes to see how they react to the foot stroking.