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Physiol Rev. 2012 Oct;92(4):1651-97. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00048.2011.

The proprioceptive senses: their roles in signaling body shape, body position and movement, and muscle force.

Author information

1
Department of Physiology, Monash University, Victoria, Australia. uwe.proske@monash.edu

Abstract

This is a review of the proprioceptive senses generated as a result of our own actions. They include the senses of position and movement of our limbs and trunk, the sense of effort, the sense of force, and the sense of heaviness. Receptors involved in proprioception are located in skin, muscles, and joints. Information about limb position and movement is not generated by individual receptors, but by populations of afferents. Afferent signals generated during a movement are processed to code for endpoint position of a limb. The afferent input is referred to a central body map to determine the location of the limbs in space. Experimental phantom limbs, produced by blocking peripheral nerves, have shown that motor areas in the brain are able to generate conscious sensations of limb displacement and movement in the absence of any sensory input. In the normal limb tendon organs and possibly also muscle spindles contribute to the senses of force and heaviness. Exercise can disturb proprioception, and this has implications for musculoskeletal injuries. Proprioceptive senses, particularly of limb position and movement, deteriorate with age and are associated with an increased risk of falls in the elderly. The more recent information available on proprioception has given a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying these senses as well as providing new insight into a range of clinical conditions.

PMID:
23073629
DOI:
10.1152/physrev.00048.2011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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