Sign, toe


Sign, toe
An important neurologic test based upon what the toes do when the sole of the foot is stimulated. If the big toe goes up, that may mean trouble. The toe sign, also called the Babinski reflex, is obtained by stimulating the external portion (the outside) of the sole. The examiner begins the stimulation back at the heel and goes forward to the base of the toes. There are diverse ways to elicit the Babinski response. A useful way that requires no special equipment is with firm pressure from the examiner's thumb. Just stroke the sole firmly with the thumb from back to front along the outside edge. Too vigorous stimulation may cause withdrawal of the foot or toe, which can be mistaken as a Babinski response. The normal mature toe sign is characterized by extension of the great toe and also by fanning of the other toes. Most newborn babies have a Babinski response, a reflection of their nervous system immaturity. Upon stimulation of the sole, they extend the great toe . Many young infants do this, too, and it is perfectly normal. However, in time during infancy the Babinski response vanishes and, under normal circumstances, should never return. A Babinski response in an older child or adult is abnormal. It is a sign of a problem in the central nervous system (CNS), most likely in a part of the CNS called the pyramidal tract. Asymmetry of the toe sign — when it is present on one side but not the other — is abnormal. It is a sign not merely of trouble but helps to lateralize that trouble (tell which side of the CNS is involved). The toe sign is known by a number of other names: the plantar response (because the sole is the plantar surface of the foot), the big toe sign or phenomenon, the Babinski phenomenon or sign. (It is incorrect to say that the Babinski sign is positive or negative; it is present or absent). Babinski, despite the Slavic sound of the name, was French: Joseph Francois Felix Babinski (1857-1932). His name will never be forgotten in medicine, thanks to the toe sign he described.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Toe walking — refers to a condition where a person walks on his or her toes without putting much weight on the heel or any other part of the foot. Toe walking in toddlers is common. These children eventually adopt a normal walking pattern as they grow older.… …   Wikipedia

  • Toe sign — An important neurologic examination based upon what the toes do when the sole of the foot is stimulated. If the big toe goes up, that may mean trouble. The toe sign, also called the Babinski reflex, is obtained by stimulating the external portion …   Medical dictionary

  • Sign — Any abnormality that indicates a disease process, such as a change in appearance, sensation, or function, that is observed by a physician when evaluating a patient. * * * 1. Any abnormality indicative of disease, discoverable on examination of… …   Medical dictionary

  • Sign, Babinski — A neurologic reflex that constitutes an important medical examination based upon what the big toe does when the sole of the foot is stroked. If the big toe goes up, that may well mean trouble. The Babinski sign is obtained by stimulating the… …   Medical dictionary

  • toe reflex — if strong flexion of the great toe causes all the muscles of the lower limb to flex, this is a sign of a pathologic state that involves hyperreflexia …   Medical dictionary

  • Big toe sign — An important neurologic examination based upon what the big toe (and other toes) do when the sole of the foot is stimulated. If the big toe goes up, that may mean trouble. The big toe response, also called the Babinski reflex, is obtained by… …   Medical dictionary

  • Babinski sign — An important neurologic examination based upon what the big toe does when the sole of the foot is stimulated. If the big toe goes up, that may mean trouble. The Babinski sign is obtained by stimulating the external portion (the outside) of the… …   Medical dictionary

  • Medical sign — A medical sign is an objective[1] indication of some medical fact or characteristic that may be detected by a physician during a physical examination of a patient.[2] Signs may have no meaning for, and can even go unnoticed by, the patient, but… …   Wikipedia

  • Oppenheim's sign — is dorsiflexion of the big toe elicited by irritation downward of the medial side of the tibia[1] Positive sign indicates a damage to the pyramidal tract. It is named for Hermann Oppenheim.[2][3] References …   Wikipedia

  • Goldstein's Toe Sign — is a feature identified by Dr. Hyman Isaac Goldstein (1887 1954), an American physician and medical historian. A greater distance separates the largest two toes of some people exhibiting Down s Syndrome or cretinism. [… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.