Clinical Tip: Testing reflexes without a hammer

April 1, 2005

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.

Do you have a Clinical Tip to share with colleagues? Let us know; we'll pay $50 for each item accepted for publication. Tips sent by mail should be addressed to Clinical Tips Editor, Contemporary Pediatrics, 5 Paragon Drive, Montvale, NJ 07645-1742. If you submit by e-mail (kbardossi@advanstar.com),please include your mailing address.