Knee joint proprioception: A comparison between female intercollegiate gymnasts and controls

S. M. Lephart, J. L. Giraldo, P. A. Borsa, F. H. Fu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations

Abstract

The role of proprioception as a protective mechanism has gained interest in recent years. From the clinical standpoint, several studies have dealt with ways to enhance proprioception following surgery and during rehabilitation. If kinesthesia (ability to detect passive motion) can be enhanced as a consequence of long-term athletic training, such training must be included as a part of the rehabilitation process to protect the patient from reinjury. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to compare the kinesthetic knee pattern between trained gymnasts and healthy nongymnasts. The proprioception testing device (PTD) was used to evaluate knee kinesthesia. From 45° of flexion, the knee was passively extended with the PTD. The device was stopped by the subject when this passive motion was detected. Fifteen healthy college-age female gymnasts (mean age 19.3 years) and 30 normal volunteers (mean age 20.7 years) comprised our study sample. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare the mean values of the dominant gymnastic knee to the dominant knee in the control group. Results revealed statistically significant mean differences between the trained gymnastic group and the untrained control group (F1,34(.95) = 7.17, P = 0.011). The results of this study suggest that extensive training has a positive influence on knee kinesthesia in addition to increasing muscle tone. According to the findings of this and other studies, highly trained athletes possess enhanced neurosensory pathways which are speculated to develop as a result of long-term athletic training. Although definite conclusions cannot be made from our investigation, prospective studies can determine the true role of athletic training in proprioceptive patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-124
Number of pages4
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1996

Keywords

  • Gymnasts
  • Kinesthesia
  • Proprioception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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