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Table 2 Incidence of positive index and reference tests in painful leg*

From: Accuracy of physical examination for chronic lumbar radiculopathy

Index test or reference test Positive Percent
Nerve stretch tests   
Femoral nerve stretch test 6 6.0
Straight leg raise test 62 53.4
Reflex tests   
Knee reflex 21 18.1
Ankle reflex 47 40.5
Sensory loss testing   
L3 4 3.4
L4 14 12.1
L5 31 26.7
S1 52 44.8
Motor strength/weakness   
Hip flexion (Iliopsoas L1,L2,L3) 13 11.2
Hip extension (Gluteus maximus L5,S1,S2) 14 12.1
Hip abduction (Gluteus medius L4,L5,S1) 9 7.7
Knee flexion (Hamstrings L5,S1,S2) 64 55.2
Knee extension (Quadriceps femoris L2,L3,L4) 1 0.9
Ankle dorsiflexion (Tibialis anterior L4,L5) 37 31.9
Ankle plantarflexion (Gastro-cnemius and Soleus S1,S2) 45 3.9
Ankle eversion (Peronei L5,S1) 80 6.9
Big toe extension (Extensor hallucis longus L5,S1) 25 21.5
Clinician suspected spinal nerve root impingement
L3 1 0.9
L4 7 6.0
L5 37 31.9
S1 71 61.2
MRI or CT proven disc herniation with spinal nerve root impingement
L3 0 0
L4 3 2.6
L5 30 25.9
S1 27 23.3
MRI or CT proven disc herniation without spinal nerve root impingement
L3 0 0
L4 1 0.9
L5 12 10.3
S1 17 14.6
MRI or CT normal or with minor degenerative changes without spinal nerve root impingement
All lumbar spinal levels 26 22.4
  1. *Number of patients 116.