The Gordon reflex was initially introduced as the “paradoxical flexor reflex” when it was first demonstrated by American neurologist, Alfred Gordon, at the Philadelphia Neurological Society in 1904. It is used to diagnose lesions of the pyramidal tract, and is a helpful adjunct to a complete neurological examination, alongside the Babinski, Chaddock, and Oppenheim reflexes. It is particularly useful in cases where the examiner is unable to elicit a Babinski reflex due to poor cooperation of the patient or when there is an equivocal result.
Setup: The patient is positioned in supine lying, with legs extended and relaxed.
Procedure: The examiner lifts the patient’s leg at the ankle with one hand, and with the other hand grasps the patient’s calf. • Next, the examiner squeezes the patient’s calf muscle tightly, while monitoring the toes.
• A normal (negative) response is no reaction at the toes • An abnormal (positive) response is an ipsilateral extensor plantar reflex - extension of the hallux with fanning of the other toes
A double-blind study of the consistency of the Babinski reflex and its variants (the Chaddock, Gordon, and Oppenheim reflexes) gave the Gordon reflex a fair rating for inter-observer consistency with a kappa of 0.3515 (95% CI = 0.255-0.488) and the highest intra-observer consistency with a kappa of 0.6731.
- Janecek J, Kushlaf H. Gordon Reflex. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing, Treasure Island (FL); 2019.
- Tashiro K. [Reverse Chaddock sign]. Brain Nerve. 2011 Aug;63(8):839-50.
- Singerman J, Lee L. Consistency of the Babinski reflex and its variants. Eur. J. Neurol. 2008 Sep;15(9):960-4.
- Palmer Health Sciences Library. Pathological Reflexes Gordon's Sign. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EW97t7VIjc