The six sense!
What is proprioception? Proprioception is the way that we know where our body is in space or in relation to other body parts and whether a body part is still or moving. This information comes from sensory receptors in the skin, joints and muscles that feed information continuously to the brain. Different tissues have different receptors, for example Golgi Tendon Organs are found in all tendons and give information about tendon stretch or muscle contractions, while Pacinian corpuscles detect pressure changes and vibration and are primarily located in the skin of the hands and feet. There are many types of receptors, all gathering and feeding information to our nervous system.
There are many reasons that proprioception is disrupted or decreased. Acute injuries such as ligament sprains or muscle strain lose some ability to gather information. This can lead to recurrent injuries if not rehabilitated well. Chronic conditions such as neurological injuries, diabetes and hypermobility can also result in a decreased proprioceptive ability for a variety of reasons.
Now we know what Proprioception is how can Physiotherapy help?
Generally, physiotherapy management of a condition or injury will involve some sort of proprioception exercise. This is aimed at challenging the body and improving the amount and accuracy of information gathered. We can utilise our other senses such as vision or our vestibular system to create varying levels of challenge.
A simple proprioceptive exercise to try at home is based on joint position sense. Sit at a table with your hands flat on the table. Now, with your eyes open and looking at the hand, start to point the thumb towards the ceiling and turn the palm. Here you are using vision and proprioception (through pressure and joint position sense). Now return the hand to the table and close your eyes. Can you return the hand to the exact same position? Can you do the exact same movement with your eyes closed but with your hand off the table? Check your accuracy!
How to train Proprioception?
If you find yourself being quite clumsy or frequently rolling your ankle or running into walls – it might be your proprioception needs work! Contact Barefoot Physiotherapy at 1300 842 850 or book online to discuss a plan.