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Quadriceps Reflex
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Tests to be performed - Patellar tendon reflex examination with the patient positioned in sitting

Expected findings - Palpable and/or observe a visible contraction of the quadriceps, slight to moderate extension of the knee, and equivalent reactivity when compared to the contralateral extremity

Equipment - Non-latex Taylor (i.e., tomahawk style hammer) or neurological reflex hammer

Testing procedures

  1. The distal thigh and knee must be readily palpated and free of restrictive clothing (i.e., a tightly rolled up pant leg).
  2. Have the patient sit on the examination table with his/her feet dangling above the floor.
  3. Stand in front and lateral to the knee as to avoid being struck by the patient’s foot if there is a brisk or exaggerated response.
  4. Localize the patellar tendon.
  5. The quadriceps muscle is typically relaxed and reinforcement is usually not required with this procedure.
  6. Allow the reflex hammer to swing loosely between your thumb and forefinger through a 45 to 60 degree arc, while making certain the hammer moves in a horizontal plane (i.e., broad end of the reflex hammer is perpendicular to the tendon).
  7. Strike the tendon just below the patella and above its bony insertion on the tibia.
  8. Standardize the size of reflex hammer and force if needed.
  9. Palpate and visually observe the response to the provided stimulus (i.e., contraction of the quadriceps and extension of the knee).
  10. Repeat the procedure.
  11. Document your findings.
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Section: Quadriceps Reflex
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