Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Journals

Review of the orthopedic and musculoskeletal rehabilitation literature identifies many different versions of definitions for the terms associated with joint proprioception and neuromuscular control. In Goetz's Textbook of Clinical Neurology, proprioception is defined as any postural, positional, or kinetic information provided to the CNS by sensory receptors in muscles, tendons, joints, or skin.4 Other texts define proprioception as “awareness of the position and movements of our limbs, fingers, and toes derived from receptors in the muscles, tendons and joints.”5 Sherrington's classic definition of proprioception is “afferent information arising from the proprioceptive field,” and mechanoreceptors or proprioceptors were identified as being the source of the origination of this afferent information. These original definitions of the term proprioception continue to be used today; however, a more advanced definition of the sensory functions that encompass human proprioceptive function is clearly needed. In a classic monograph titled Physiologies des Muskelsinnes, Goldsheider7 proposed that muscle sense be divided into four distinct and separate sensory functions. These functions were described as sensation of passive movements, sensation of active movements, sensation of position, and appreciation or sensation of heaviness and resistance. These original classifications or definitions have been expanded to decrease confusion. The sensation of passive movements is considered to be a product of sensations induced by external forces that result in a change in limb position with no contracting muscles.    

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