Clinical Tip: Testing reflexes without a hammer

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When checking knee reflexes, press down on the dorsum of the foot while tapping the patellar tendon. This maneuver overcomes inhibition of the reflex, so that a brisk tap with the side of the index finger elicits a good response. Using the index finger avoids the need for a reflex hammer, which may upset the child. Parents are intrigued to see such a lively demonstration of their child's circuitry.

Mary C. Darken, MDNew Orleans, La.

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