The Babinski Reflex

Babinski Reflex

Has your child been struggling with an unusual gait, toe walking and problems with their hand-eye coordination? If so, your child may be struggling with a Retained Primitive Reflex that is known as the Babinski Reflex.

What is the Babinski Reflex?

You may be wondering what the Babinski Reflex is. The Babinski Reflex is a Primitive Reflex that is typically seen right from birth. This Reflex causes the toes of a child to contract or grip when the bottom of their foot is stroked.

The Babinski Reflex is very helpful to children when they are first learning to walk, helping them balance and making their toes grip at the floor. However, this Reflex is one that should be integrated after the first 12 months of a child’s life. And while it is very helpful for the first year, if it is retained past the first year you may begin to see some problems.



The most common symptoms of retained Babinski reflex are: 

Hand-eye coordination problems 

Delayed walking 

Visual issues 

Sensory issues 

Proprioceptive and vestibular problems 

Poor balance 

Problem with sports 

Unusual gait 

Toe walking 

Heel walking 

Tight calves after walking

Shin soreness 

Poor spatial awareness 

Difficulty walking in dark or with eyes closed 

Or a sign of a central nervous system disorder 

Babinski Test

Testing for the Babinski Reflex

Testing for this Reflex is incredibly simple. Using the handle tip of a paintbrush, or something similar, you will stroke up the outer edge of the foot and loop around the pad of the food. The toes should flex down slightly, but if they fan or extend back that means that the reflex is still present and needs to be integrated.

Integrating this Reflex 

Now that we know how to test for Retained Babinski Reflex, we can move on to learning about how to integrate it. Us here at SLD have searched for and compiled exercises that help integrate many of the Primitive Reflexes. They take just 10 minutes every day and are so simple they can be done right at home. To learn more, go check out our cognitive exercises.