Babinski Reflex Testing for Babies & Adults in Milwaukee

Fast, painless reflex test reveals important information about your brain & nervous system

The Babinski reflex is a response after the sole of the foot is firmly stroked. The test for the Babinski reflex is simple but the results can identify potentially very serious central nervous system dysfunction. You should never self-diagnose or dismiss other physical symptoms based on giving yourself this test. Contact our team of experienced podiatrists for a professional assessment involving any foot or ankle related problems.

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What is the Babinski reflex?

Babinski reflex newborn Milwaukee

The Babinski reflex is perfectly normal and healthy for infants under 2.

The Babinski reflex is a normal reflex in babies that makes the big toe extend up and the smaller toes fan out when the sole of the foot is stimulated (usually stroked with a finger or blunt object such as a reflex hammer).

The Babinski reflex is also called the Babinski sign, Babinski response, Babinski phenomenon, plantar response, plantar reflex, or the big toe sign. It is named for French neurologist Joseph Francois Felix Babinski (1857-1932).

Why test for the Babinski reflex?

Doctors test the Babinski reflex to check for underlying abnormalities in the brain and nervous system. Presence of the Babinski reflex in babies under 2 years old is perfectly normal and healthy.

Though the terms positive and negative are often used to describe the Babinski reflex, it is actually correct to refer to it as present or absent.

How long does the Babinski reflex last?

The Babinski reflex usually disappears when children are between 12 months and 2 years of age.

What does it mean when an adult tests positive for the Babinski reflex?

In older children and adults the presence of this reflex is often a symptom of a central nervous system disorder which may include:

Babinski reflex in adults Wisconsin

An abnormal Babinski reflex in adults should be followed up with further testing.

  • Lou Gehrig disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS)
  • Meningitis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Stroke
  • Injury, tumor or defect in the brain or spinal cord

If the Babinski reflex occurs on one side but not the other, it points to a problem with one side of the brain. Whenever the Babinski sign is present in adults and older children, more testing should be done to determine the cause of the abnormality.

Why do we grow out of the Babinski reflex?

The Babinski response is a primitive reflex which occurs because the corticospinal pathways (bundles of nerve fibers) running from the brain and down the spinal cord are not fully myelinated (sheathed) in newborns and infants.

As the neurological system matures and babies gain more control over their nervous systems, the Babinski response disappears and the flexor response (toes flexing down toward the sole of the foot) takes its place.

Milwaukee Podiatrists Test for Babinski Response in Adults & Infants

Our experienced foot doctors perform routine health checks including testing for the Babinski reflex in babies, children and adults of all ages. If you have any concerns about the health of your children’s feetpostpartum foot pain or elderly foot and nail care, schedule an appointment today. Early assessment and treatment of foot issues can help protect your overall health.

With five convenient Milwaukee-area locations our podiatrists help patients living in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Wauwatosa, Greenfield, Mukwonago, Racine and the surrounding areas.