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April 29, 1939


Author Affiliations

San Francisco

From the Division of Neurology of the University of California Medical School.

JAMA. 1939;112(17):1688. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.62800170002011a

It seems to me worth while to point out the diagnostic importance of a sign of ulnar palsy that is apparently little known and is not even mentioned, for example, in the leading textbooks of neurology or in monographs on the peripheral nerves. This sign consists of a position of abduction assumed by the little finger. For years I have been observing this sign and have found it to be present in many cases, regardless of the cause of the palsy.1

Sometimes the fourth finger too has a tendency to assume a position of abduction, but usually it is only the little finger that is found in an abnormal position. In many cases this abduction was nearly extreme and resembled a paralytic contracture. It was found to be most conspicuous when the patient was asked to extend his fingers at the proximal joints. The importance of this sign has