The TFR is a sign of upper motor neuron impairment. It does not typically appear for several days after an injury but in patients with pre-existing myelopathy, an early onset exaggerated Babinski response exhibited as a TFR may occur. It is important not to misinterpret such responses as volitional movements, particularly in patients with cognitive dysfunction where the history and physical examination may be limited. Failure to immobilize the spine and to administer adjunct steroid therapy may be detrimental to the patient. Education of initial response physicians may prevent overlooking an acute SCI.
Fetouh, S. K.; Kolli, S.; Marino, R. J.; Martin, N. D.; and Schreiber, A. L., "The Significance of a Triple Flexion Reflex in the Acute Spinal Cord Injured Patient: A Case Report and Review of the Literature" (2010). Department of Rehabilitation Medicine Faculty Papers. Paper 5.