How Does Proprioception Work?

Written by:

Obi Obadike

Obi Obadike

Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.
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How does proprioception work? Proprioception is the body’s ability to sense its actions, movements, and its location.  It allows us to move freely without giving much thought or thinking about it. Proprioception is a loop of feedback between sensory receptors throughout the body and nervous system. The sensory receptors we have are in our skin, joints, and muscles.

How does proprioception work? Photo credit: iStock-Nina_Piankova

Here are the signs and symptoms of proprioception disorder:

  • Having balancing issues in terms of having trouble standing on one foot. And having frequent falls while walking.
  • Being able to walk in a straight line.
  • Constantly bumping into things and being clumsy.
  • Poor posture control.

One of the best ways to evaluate proprioception disorder is by either a doctor, physical therapist, or occupational therapist. Some of the tests are:

  • Romberg test– To do this test you have to stand unsupported for about 30 seconds with your heels together and eyes closed.
  • Thumb Finding Test– Place one of your hands in a certain position and try to touch the placed thumb with your other thumb.
  • Sequential Finger Touching– Touch either of your fingers to your thumb starting with your forefinger.
  • Field Sobriety Test– This is a common test used by police officers. And this is closing your eyes and try touching your nose with your index fingers.

Some of the treatments you can do to help improve proprioception are:

  • Physical Therapy which can help improve motor skills.
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga helps to improve balance and strength.
  • Occupational Therapy

Some of the most common brain disorders are what lead to proprioceptive problems such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Arthritis
  • ALS is also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Joint replacement surgery like a hip or knee replacement
  • Peripheral neuropathy

“One of the best ways to evaluate proprioception disorder is by either a doctor, physical therapist, or occupational therapist.” Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert Obi Obadike

The Bottom Line is proprioception plays a role in how you walk, stand, move, etc. Only a doctor can really evaluate if you have proprioception problems.

Some of the most common brain disorders are what lead to this such as Parkinson disease, autism spectrum disorder, Alzheimer’s disease. Some of the treatments that can improve this are yoga, tai chi, physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc.

It is important to under that the risk of proprioception loss increases as we age due to natural age changes to nerves, joints and muscles.

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  1. Rivera MJ, Winkelmann ZK, Powden CJ, Games KE. Proprioceptive Training for the Prevention of Ankle Sprains: An Evidence-Based Review. J Athl Train. 2017 Nov;52(11):1065-1067. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-52.11.16. Epub 2017 Nov 15. PMID: 29140127; PMCID: PMC5737043.

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