|Test to be performed - Triceps brachii reflex examination with the patient positioned in sitting
Expected findings - Palpable and/or a visible contraction of the triceps and slight elbow extension, as well as equivalent triceps brachii reactivity when compared to the contralateral extremity
Equipment - Non-latex Taylor (i.e., tomahawk style hammer) or neurological reflex hammer
- The elbow region should be visible and the proximal arm must be free of restrictive clothing (i.e., a tightly rolled up shirt sleeve).
- With the patient seated or standing, support his or her distal arm and allow the elbow to hang freely in approximately 90 degrees of elbow flexion.
- Stand in back and slightly to the side of the extremity being tested.
- Localize the triceps tendon.
- The triceps muscle is typically relaxed, but reinforcement procedures can be used if needed.
- Allow the reflex hammer to swing loosely between your thumb and forefinger through a 45 to 60 degree arc.
- Strike the dorsal side of the distal arm about 2 cm above the olecranon process with the base of the reflex hammer positioned perpendicular to the tendon.
- Standardize the size of the reflex hammer and force if needed.
- Palpate and visually observe the response to the provided stimulus (i.e., elbow extension).
- Repeat the procedure.
- Document your findings.