Homans' sign

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Editors-in-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. Associate Editor-In-Chief: Ujjwal Rastogi, MBBS [1]

Overview

Homans' sign is said to be present when passive dorsiflexion of the ankle by the examiner elicits sharp pain in the calf. It is caused by a thrombosis of the deep veins of the leg. This sign is frequently elicited in clinical practice because of the ease of use, although it is falling into disfavor because of risk of embolization and because it is frequently positive in individuals without deep vein thrombosis or DVT. It is named for the American physician, John Homans.

Physical findings

To test for Homans' sign, flex the patient's knee slightly with one hand and, with the other, dorsiflex the foot. The complaint of calf pain with this procedure is a positive sign and often indicates venous thrombosis. Absence of Homans' sign does not preclude venous thrombosis.

Video explaining Homans's sign


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