The role of proprioception in the management and rehabilitation of athletic injuries

Scott M. Lephart, Danny M. Pincivero, Jorge L. Giraldo, Freddie H. Fu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

570 Scopus citations


Rehabilitation continues to evolve with the increased emphasis on patient management and proprioceptive training. Proprioception can be defined as a specialized variation of the sensory modality of touch that encompasses the sensation of joint movement (kinesthesia) and joint position (joint position sense). Numerous investigators have observed that afferent feedback to the brain and spinal pathways is mediated by skin, articular, and muscle mechanoreceptors. Examining the effects of ligamentous injury, surgical intervention, and proprioceptively mediated activities in the rehabilitation program provides an understanding of the complexity of this system responsible for motor control. It appears that this neuromuscular feedback mechanism becomes interrupted with injury and abnormalities, and approaches restoration after surgical intervention and rehabilitation. Rehabilitation programs should be designed to include a proprioceptive component that addresses the following three levels of motor control: spinal reflexes, cognitive programming, and brainstem activity. Such a program is highly recommended to promote dynamic joint and functional stability. Thus far, current knowledge regarding the basic science and clinical application of proprioception has led the profession of sports medicine one step closer to its ultimate goal of restoring function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-137
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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