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Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2010 Aug;25(7):708-12. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2010.04.017. Epub 2010 Jun 2.

Effects of active fatiguing movement versus passive repetitive movement on knee proprioception.

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  • 1Graduate Institute of Rehabilitation Science, Chang Gung University, 159 Wen-Hua 1st Road, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan.



Proprioception can be affected by many factors such as age, gender, injury, disease, exercise, and fatigue. To date, the mechanisms or pathways by which fatigue influences proprioception have not been elucidated. Generally, it is accepted that local muscular effects occurred during fatigue state may negatively affect proprioception. Research has indicated that metabolic acidosis resulting from active muscle activities, along with tissue stretching and joint laxity resulting from repetitive joint movements, are likely related to proprioceptive deterioration. So far, little direct evidence or research supports these statements. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of fatigue exercises (repetitive active movement) and repetitive passive movements on knee proprioception.


A quasi-experimental design with repeated measure on proprioception following two forms of knee joint movement (repetitive active/passive movement in 120 degrees /s with 60 repetitions over a 10 degrees -100 degrees range) was conducted. Fifteen healthy volunteers underwent two forms of movement intervention in two consecutive days in a counter-balanced manner. Knee joint repositioning errors were measured before and after the movement intervention.


Study results showed a statistically significant increase in absolute repositioning error following repetitive active movement, but a decrease following repetitive passive movement intervention.


This study concluded that a repetitive passive movement protocol was capable of improving knee joint position sense. Meanwhile, the negative effect from the muscle receptors following the repetitive active movement overwhelmed the positive effect from the repetitive passive movement intervention. It supports the clinical utilization of repetitive passive movement to promote proprioception. This utilization can be implemented for proprioceptive training in sports activities, plus injury prevention and rehabilitation.

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