The Plantar Reflex

The Plantar Reflex emerges in utero at around 11 weeks and should be integrated about 7-9 months after birth.  As the infant begins to stand up, usually by the age of one, the Plantar Reflex should disappear.  The reflex is elicited when pressure is applied to the sole of baby’s foot between the toes and the arch.  If this is done to a baby before he is 7 months, the response will be that the toes will curl.  If the toes fan outward, it is an indication of an active Babinski reflex.  The Plantar Reflex is usually present in children who toe-walk.

If the Plantar Reflex remains active after the first year of life, foot positioning will be more difficult resulting in problems with balance, posture, gait, and walking.  In addition, Harald Blomberg (2012) has found that a retained Plantar Reflex can also cause tension in the jaw, issues with clenching and grinding of the teeth and can affect speech articulation and phonological challenges similar to a retained Babkin Reflex.

The Plantar reflex position. When pressure is applied to the top of the sole of the foot, the toes will curl.

The Plantar reflex position. When pressure is applied to the top of the sole of the foot, the toes will curl.