Crossed extensor reflex

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

The crossed extensor reflex is a withdrawal reflex.

When the reflex occurs the flexors in the withdrawing limb contract and the extensors relax, while in the other limb the opposite occurs.

An example of this is when a person steps on a nail, the leg that is stepping on the nail pulls away, while the other leg takes the weight of the whole body.

Another example of a crossed extensor reflex is when someone violently grabs your arm, the arm that is grabbed retracts towards the body while the other arm moves towards the attacker for protection.

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