The extensor plantar reflex, to which Babinski first called attention in 1898,1 and which bears his name, is considered by neurologists as being the most important reflex at their command by which to differentiate between functional and organic nerve lesions. Babinski has shown that normally when the sole of the foot is stimulated by drawing some foreign object across its surface, plantar flexion of the toes follows; whereas, in organic diseases of the nervous system, particularly in spinal cord diseases accompanied by spastic symptoms, instead of a plantar flexion of the toes, an extension of the digits occurs which is most noticeable in the great toe and which acts more slowly than does the normal flexion. While the true pathology of this phenomenon is unknown, save that it indicates an irritation somewhere along the course of the motor leg fibers of the corticospinal element of the central nervous system,
THROCKMORTON TB. A NEW METHOD FOR ELICITING THE EXTENSOR TOE REFLEX. JAMA. 1911;LVI(18):1311–1312. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.02560180005003
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