homans' sign

Homans sign

Homans' sign is seen 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 producing an embolism and because it is frequently positive in individuals without DVT. It is named for the American physician John Homans.

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. A positive Homan's sign does not postively diagnose DVT, and a negative Homan's Sign does not rule out the DVT diagnoses.


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