Saturday, 20 June 2009

A surefire way to remember what those relexes actually test...

Part of the standard neurology exam entails testing the patient's reflexes; the usual ones are the ankle jerk, patellar tendon, biceps, brachioradialis and triceps. Problem is, it's hard to remember which nerve roots are being tested here. Never fear: remember that old nursery rhyme "One, two, Buckle my shoe"? Well, a little tweaking and you'll never forget your nerve roots again!

Repeat after me:

One, two,
Buckle my shoe.
Three, four,
Kick at the door;
Five, six,
Pick up sticks;
Seven, eight,
Close the gate.

Got it?
  • One, two, buckle my shoe - ankle jerk : S1-2
  • Three, four, kick at the door - patellar tendon : L3-4
  • Five, six, pick up sticks - biceps/brachioradialis : C5-6
  • Seven, eight, close the gate - triceps: C7-8
Ok, it's pretty much those nerve roots. Some people include expand the list a little; for instance, triceps can be said to test C6, C7 and C8, instead of the latter two. But still...

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