Plantar reflex

accreditation

Definition

The plantar reflex is a reflex elicited when the sole of the foot is stimulated with a blunt instrument. In normal adults the plantar reflex causes a downward response. In newborn babies, the response is upwards, also known as Babinski's sign.

A baby's smaller toes will fan out and their big toe will dorsiflex slowly. This happens because the corticospinal pathways that run from the brain down the spinal cord are not fully myelinated at this age, so the reflex is not inhibited by the cerebral cortex. The extensor response disappears and gives way to the flexor response around 12 to 24 months of age.

In adults, the presence of Babinski's sign can identify disease of the spinal cord and brain in adults.

Source: Wikipedia

Also see:

Share your experience with your babies and their new reflexes by emailing chatback@parent24.com.

Sign up to our weekly newsletter to receive Parent24 stories directly to your inbox. 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24