Coordinated Health

Conditions

Definition

Babinski reflex is one of the reflexes that occurs in infants. Reflexes are responses that occur when the body receives a certain stimulus.

The Babinski reflex occurs after the sole of the foot has been firmly stroked. The big toe then moves upward or toward the top surface of the foot. The other toes fan out.

This reflex is normal in children up to 2 years old. It disappears as the child gets older. It may disappear as early as 12 months.

Alternative Names

Reflex – Babinski; Extensor plantar reflex; Babinski sign

Common Causes

When the Babinski reflex is present in a child older than 2 years or in an adult, it is often a sign of a brain or nervous system disorder. Disorders may include:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig disease) 
  • Brain tumor or injury
     
  • Meningitis
  • Multiple sclerosis
     
  • Spinal cord injury, defect, or tumor
  • Stroke
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