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Joint position sense
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Test to be performed - Joint position sense
Joint position sense measures the individual’s ability to perceive the position of a joint with his/her vision occluded and minimal exteroceptive cues. Clinically, joint position sense is often referred to as proprioception.

Expected findings - The individual will be able to replicate the joint position accurately with the opposite extremity or describe the position verbally.

Equipment - None

Testing procedure

  1. Explain the procedure to the patient with his/her eyes open. For example, “I am going to move your wrist (or ankle, shoulder, elbow, etc.) into a certain position, and I would like you to imitate the position with your other wrist."
  2. Demonstrate the procedure with the patient’s eyes open until the patient understands the procedure to be performed.
  3. The patient closes his/her eyes, or vision is otherwise occluded.
  4. Position the body segment being tested and then passively position the individual’s joint in space. Hold the lateral surfaces of the limb to minimize cues from touch and pressure sensations.
  5. Move the body segment into a position and either have the patient maintain the position or assist the patient in maintaining the position if needed.
  6. Have the patient duplicate the position with the opposite extremity.
  7. The procedure is repeated enough times to conclude if joint position sense is intact or impaired. A suggested minimum number of trials is five per joint.
  8. Document findings.
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Section: Joint position sense
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