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September 1966

Pathophysiology of the Tonic Innervation Phenomenon in the Foot

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology and the Beaumont-May Institute of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.

Arch Neurol. 1966;15(3):252-263. doi:10.1001/archneur.1966.00470150030006

THE VARIETIES of exaggerated flexion movements in the hand resulting from forebrain lesions have received much detailed study.1-7 Most authors have pointed out that related flexion in the foot may be present in some patients, but less investigation has been focused upon the lower extremity, and one may infer that this is partially because the phenomenon is less conspicuous there.

Wilson and Walshe1 described a behavior of prolonged innervation of the finger flexors which the patient was unable to relax. Adie and Critchley3 emphasized the reflex nature of pathological grasping but indicated that it may be triggered by voluntary effort. Later studies by Walshe4,5 concluded that there are two phenomena, one an exaggerated volitional contraction and the other a reflex response to proprioceptive stimulation of the fingers. A similar reflex was also described in the foot.

The most detailed study is that of Seyffarth and

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