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November 13, 1967

Signs of Impairment of The Sciatic Nerve

JAMA. 1967;202(7):666. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130200152046

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To the Editor:—  The comments by Dr. Whitehill in The Journal (201:641, 1967) are quite pertinent and important. When one does the toe-rise test on each foot as he describes, not only is the weakness that he is demonstrating produced by sciatica, but the inability to do a single toe-rise can indicate loss of balance due to weakness in any component in the leg or supporting muscles from the hips down. It does not imply compression of the nerve by hyperextension and tension on the nerve so much as weakness. One might add that a second valuable sign of sciatic neuritis, or any form of weakness in the leg, is to compress the knee towards the ground while the patient is sitting, therefore, measuring the strength of hip flexion. Invariably, hip flexion and abduction weakness develops in unilateral sciatica, or for that matter, any type of seemingly distant, unrelated