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January 1983

Loss of Ankle Reflex

Author Affiliations

Division of Neurosciences Midland Hospital Center 4005 Orchard Dr Midland, MI 48640

Arch Neurol. 1983;40(1):64. doi:10.1001/archneur.1983.04050010084030

To the Editor.  —The observations of Goode and Van Hoven concerning loss of patellar and ankle muscle stretch reflexes in classical ballet dancers (Archives 1982;39:323) correspond closely with my earlier observations in persons with footdrop or persistent plantar flexion of the foot, for example, women accustomed to wearing high-heeled shoes. In such persons, as in ballet dancers, the ankle reflex may be diminished or lost.Goode and Van Hoven reported reduction of H-reflex recovery curve height in their patients. This finding also corresponds closely to my suggestion that the ankle reflex fails because of diminished "priming" of muscle spindles, brought about by relaxation of the calf muscles. In cases where the calf muscles are actively contracted and shortened, as in Duchenne type muscular dystrophy or spastic paresis, the ankle reflex is enhanced because of sustained "priming" of the muscle spindles.