Medical Definition of Kernig sign

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Kernig sign: A sign indicating the presence of meningitis (inflammation of the meninges covering the brain and spinal cord). The test for Kernig sign is done by having the person lie flat on the back, flex the thigh so that it is at a right angle to the trunk, and completely extend the leg at the knee joint. If the leg cannot be completely extended due to pain, this is Kernig sign.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors