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Differences Between Arms and Legs on Position Sense and Joint Reaction Angle

Paschalis, Vassilis1,2; Nikolaidis, Michalis G1,2; Giakas, Giannis1,2; Jamurtas, Athanasios Z1,2; Koutedakis, Yiannis1,2,3

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: September 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 6 - pp 1652-1655
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181b4382d
Original Research

Paschalis, V, Nikolaidis, MG, Giakas, G, Jamurtas, AZ, and Koutedakis, Y. Differences between arms and legs on position sense and joint reaction angle. J Strength Cond Res 23(6): 1652-1655, 2009-The purpose of the present investigation was to compare the arms and legs in relation to position sense and joint reaction angle. Position sense at 30o, 45o, and 60o flexion as well as joint reaction angle to release from 20o, 40o, and 60o flexion of the elbow and knee joint were evaluated in 12 healthy men. The measurements were performed over 3 consecutive days to minimize the error attributable to the variability of the measured parameters. During the assessment of position sense, subjects had to place their limb as closely as possible to the reference angle. The joint reaction angle was measured by a new test in which the subjects had to stop the fall of their limb as soon as possible after it was released. All measurements were performed in a common isokinetic dynamometer. The results of position sense showed that the arms were placed closer to the reference angle compared with the legs (1.3o vs. 3.1o on average for 3 angles, respectively; p < 0.05). The arms also exhibited faster reaction angle to release compared with legs (3.4o vs. 6.3o on average for 3 angles, respectively; p < 0.05). In conclusion, the ability of arms to perform more accurate and faster movements than legs may mainly be attributed to the higher number of muscle spindles and the lower innervation ratio of arms. An imbalance of the determined relationship between arms and legs in position sense and reaction angle may indicate a neuromuscular disturbance.

1Institute of Human Performance and Rehabilitation, Centre for Research and Technology-Thessaly, Trikala, Greece; 2Department of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, Thessaly University, Karies, Trikala, Greece; and 3School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure, Wolverhampton University, Walshall, United Kingdom

Address correspondence to Vassilis Paschalis,

© 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association