Sensing of Leg Position and Movement
This study will collect information on how people sense leg position and movement. The findings may help scientists develop better ways to evaluate and treat joint problems.
Healthy adult volunteers between 21 and 40 years of age may be eligible for the study. Candidates are screened with a brief questionnaire and examination to determine their strength, flexibility, and sensation.
Participants sit on a specially designed chair, with their foot and leg placed in a custom-made apparatus that controls knee and ankle movements. The skin is marked to indicate the area of interest for ultrasound assessment of muscle. Subjects respond to joint position changes for several trials. The procedure takes a maximum of 2.5 hours to complete.
|Official Title:||Coupled Joint Proprioception and Multi-Joint Movement in the Lower Extremity: A Pilot Study|
|Study Start Date:||January 2005|
|Estimated Study Completion Date:||July 2010|
Proprioception can be described as afferent information typically arising from peripheral mechanoreceptors that contribute to postural control, joint stability and conscious sensation of movement. Sensation of movement can be further divided into joint position sense (JPS) and the detection of passive movement sense (DPMS). Collectively, these two sensory modalities are commonly referred to as joint kinesthesia. Joint kinesthesia appears dependent on specific joint anatomical structure, suggesting different levels of acuity among various joints. However, whole limb accuracy appears to be greater than summed error across multiple joints of an extremity. Some suggest that it is only JPS errors greater than 3 degrees that have any functional significance on gait. However, the authors' calculations of position error on gait neglect JPS errors from the ankle and hip, which could also severely influence whole limb position sense, impacting gait. We believe that the central nervous system (CNS) links together afferent proprioceptive feedback from multiple joints of a limb segment to reduce kinesthetic error across a whole limb. The redundancy of the afferent information can be used as an "error check" to improve proprioceptive feedback in order to maintain function. We have used the term Coupled Joint Proprioception (CJP) in order to describe this phenomenon.
To better understand the relationship between CJP and human function, we would have to isolate movement at two adjacent joints, while controlling bi-articular muscle length, to determine its influence on single joint kinesthesia. Bi-articular muscles provide a mechanical linkage within a limb to transfer forces. Afferent information from bi-articular muscles in particular could provide a context with which proprioceptive information from other structures (single joint muscles, joint or cutaneous receptors) can maintain or enhance proprioception within a limb. The redundant information, provided by the two-joint muscles, is the basis on which we describe CJP.
The overall objective of this non-invasive pilot study is to establish the methodology necessary to test the influence of CJP on knee joint kinesthesia and proprioceptive capabilities. The primary goal is to establish two experimental conditions in which similar motions of simultaneous knee joint extension and ankle joint plantar flexion result in shortening and lengthening of all gastrocnemius muscle fibers. Following establishment of these conditions, the second goal is to develop and evaluate novel methods for studying the influence of CJP on the detection of passive movement and joint position sense at the knee joint. The information from this pilot data will also help determine the total number of subjects required to undertake a larger clinical investigation of the CJP phenomenon.
It is important to study CJP, as proprioception is typically measured clinically at a single joint in human subjects. Human function usually incorporates multiple joints, suggesting that CJP, measured across two joints, could be more representative of human proprioceptive function. Therefore, CJP would provide an avenue to better study the influence of proprioceptive feedback on human function such as walking. This is especially important because maintaining proprioceptive feedback while walking may minimize falls in patients who are at risk due to lower extremity injuries or pathologies.
|United States, Maryland|
|National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike|
|Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892|