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Thread: Reflexes in legs and feet

  1. #1

    Reflexes in legs and feet

    Dr. Young,

    I have movement when my therapist taps the back of my ankles (foot movement) and lower leg reflex when she taps my knees. Is this normal for a C5/C6 incomplete? Is it a good sign?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Debbie, those are deep tendon reflexes and they are completely run by neurons in the spinal cord in the lumbrosacral levels.

    The tap to your achilles tendon stretches your gastrocnemius (your calf muscle); this sends a signal to the spinal cord at about S1, the motoneurons for your gastrocnemius fires, and your ankle undergoes plantar flexion.

    The tap to your patella (knee) stretches your quadriceps (your front thigh muscle); this sends a signal to the spinal cord at about L3, the motoenruons for your quadriceps fires, and your lower leg extends at the knee.

    What this means is that your motoneurons and the sensory input into L3 and S1 are intact, ready and willing when the regenerating fibers come down from the brain to innervate them.

    Because most of the descending connections from the brain are inhibitory, and there is considerable sprouting of axons in the lower spinal cord to fill in denervated synapses, these reflexes tend to be exaggerated in people with spinal cord injury. This is of course called spasticity.

    You can show the spasticity in several other ways. If you have somebody hold your foot and transiently flex the ankle, the foot will oppose that movement and then relax and then extend again, several times. This is called clonus. Baclofen should suppress this spasticity.

    http://carecure.rutgers.edu/spinewir...nalLevels.html

  3. #3
    Senior Member Maceyka's Avatar
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    Clonus

    Dr. Young,

    It seems to me that anything I have read in these forums about clonus has been negative. Is clonus a bad thing, and if so, why?

    Maceyka

  4. #4
    Senior Member Maceyka's Avatar
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    Anyone...???

    (See post below)

    Maceyka

  5. #5

    Clonus

    Maceyke,

    Do a search on Clonus. All I found was that it is a tremor in people with Parkinson's disease. Maybe Dr. Young can explain more.

    Deb

  6. #6
    It's just like a spasm, i believe.
    Its not dangerous or anything else, its just one of the reflexes caused by sci.
    Thats what ive always heard and understood but...
    Don't go by me, wait for a more professional answer

    Me.

  7. #7
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    I just got off Baclofin 2 weeks ago to see how bad the spasms will get and to see if I can stay off another drug.

    I tickle my feet every night and watch my toes and skin wiggle. I sit up in bed and throw myself backwards and watch my legs tighten up to resist my upper body moving rearward.

    One day last week I threw myself backwards while sitting on the edge of the bed. When I went backwards I twisted at the same time and my legs and feet came up on the bed with the rest of me. Have only been able to duplicate this movement several times. Tried last night, but it did not work--almost feel off the bed.

    The biggest problem I have is when I try to get sit up in bed it seems like my legs and stomach musles are trying to push me down. My daughter and myself have alot of fun when I try to do something different with these disconnected muscles...

    EM

  8. #8

    Clonus

    Clonus is not necessarily bad (just like spasticity in general) unless it starts to interfere with safety, function, intact movement/muscles or causes problems with skin, etc. Clonus is the name for the "tapping foot" type spasms you see if your foot is improperly positioned on your leg rest. It can be helpful in a situation such as this as it tells you that something is wrong that you can then correct.

    (KLD)

  9. #9
    Senior Member Scorpion's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Maceyka:

    Dr. Young,

    It seems to me that anything I have read in these forums about clonus has been negative. Is clonus a bad thing, and if so, why?

    Maceyka
    I like my clonus...most of the time. I get it more in my right leg than left, but I often trigger it when my feet are burning and tingling, and it helps. I think it helps circulation in the legs. It can be frustrating at times, like when I'm trying to transfer, but over the years I've learned to make my spasticity work for me...most of the time.

    ~Rus

    "Life's a bitch, but I love her."

  10. #10
    Senior Member Maceyka's Avatar
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    Scorpion

    Interesting...I also try to trigger it for a temporary relief of the burning and tingling in my right foot.

    Maceyka

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