Babinski Test

The plantar reflex is a reflex elicited when the sole of the foot is stimulated with a blunt instrument. The reflex can take one of two forms. In normal adults the plantar reflex causes a downward response  (flexion) of the hallux. An upward response of the hallux (extension) is known as the Babinski response or Babinski sign, named after the neurologist Joseph Babinski.The presence of the Babinski sign can identify disease of the spinal cord and brain in adults.

Babinski’s Special Test (Babinski’s Sign)


  • Tests for spasticity present with Central Nervous System Lesions 

Video Instructions, Procedure, Positive Test:

Babinski Test: Video Instructions (Procedure below)

Babinski Special Test: PROCEDURE:

  • patient is supine
  • therapist runs a pointed object along the plantar aspect of the patient’s foot. (The lateral side of the sole of the foot is rubbed with a blunt instrument or device so as not to cause pain, discomfort, or injury to the skin; the instrument is run from the heel along a curve to the toes).

Babinski Sign: POSITIVE TEST:

  • Positive for CNS lesion = Extension of the big toe and abduction of the other toes. (the hallux dorsiflexes, and the other toes fan out; this is Babinski’s sign, which indicates damage to the central nervous system)

** ( Babinski Tests positive for infants up to a few weeks old and is negative after 5– 7 months.)
** The presence of the Babinski Sign / Plantar Reflex can identify disease of the spinal cord and brain in adults, and also exists as a primitive reflex in infants.
*** The Babinski response is also normal while asleep and after a long period of walking.
*** Flexor: the toes curve down and inwards, and the foot everts; this is the response seen in healthy adults.