Slight irritation of the sole of the foot is ordinarily followed by plantar flexion of the toes, particularly the four smaller; while with more marked irritation transitory plantar flexion is followed by dorsal extension, particularly in the great toe, associated with flexion of the foot, leg and thigh, and at times also of other muscles. Under certain abnormal conditions it has been found, particularly and earliest by Babinski, that slight irritation of the sole of the foot causes not plantar flexion, but dorsal extension. Under such circumstances lesions of the pyramidal tracts have almost always been found and the symptom has been considered pathognomonic of this condition. The phenomenon has, however, been observed also in connection with epileptic seizures, in cases of strychnin poisoning, in other diseases attended with exaggeration of the reflexes and also in healthy infants; while, on the other hand, it has been found wanting in cases
THE TOE PHENOMENON OF BABINSKI. JAMA. 1901;XXXVII(24):1611–1612. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.02470500039005
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