Joint position sense (JPS) is the awareness of limb position in the absence of vision, and is based on proprioceptive information from muscle, skin and joint receptors. There is initial evidence that JPS is enhanced by concurrent tactile stimulation such as applying an elastic brace to the joint (Herrington, Simmonds, & Hatcher, 2005). In addition, JPS acuity may be biased toward the non-preferred hand. In right handers and left handers the ability to match elbow angles has shown to be asymmetrical between the preferred and non-preferred arm, favoring the non-preferred arm(Goble & Brown, 2008). This study examined the effects of tactile stimulation on JPS with the use of an elastic brace on the elbow joint as a function of handedness.The rationale behind the study was to explore, if JPS at a proprioceptively less sensitive joint could be improved by added tactile stimulation. Specifically, by placing a brace on the preferred arm, I sought to decrease JPS error to the level of the non-preferred arm. JPS was measured through a bi-manual manipulandum, designed to measure angular displacement of the elbow joint in the horizontal plane. Thirty healthy adults, 20 right-handed and 10 left-handed, were recruited to participate in a contralateral concurrent elbow matching task, with and without tactile stimulation, at an amplitude of 40° in elbow extension. The results showed no statistically significant main effects for brace, handedness, orhand used.In addition, the respective 2- and 3-way interactions failed to reach significance.Thus, this experiment failed to confirm earlier reports showing beneficial effects of concurrent tactile stimulation on JPS. These findings indicate in healthy young adults training had little effect on the precision of the JPS as no changes occurred across trials within subjects.Further, earlier reports of the beneficial effects of knee joint bracing on JPS do not translate to the elbow joint. Overall this study is a significant contribution to the literature for gaining an understanding of how the elbow joint responds to bracing in healthy young adults, and suggests that the specialization of our non-preferred limb may only be in tasks where memory is included in the design.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. August 2013. Major: Kinesiology. Advisor: Dr. Jurgen Konczak. 1 computer file (PDF); iv, 27 pages.
Heggernes, Karen Elizabeth.
Enhancing joint position sense through concurrent tactile stimulation: effects of handedness.
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