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Elaboration of a New Method to Assess the Shoulder Sense of Force in Healthy People

Units : Research Unit in Rehabilitation Sciences | ULB748

Description :

Proprioception is the ability to detect body positioning and movement, as well as force and velocity, in the absence of visual
feedback. These afferent information arising from internal peripheral areas of the body contribute to postural control, joint
stability, and several conscious sensations. Generally, three proprioception submodalities are described including joint position sense,
kinesthesia, and sensation of force. Joint position sense is the appreciation and interpretation of information concerning one’s
joint position and orientation in space. Kinesthesia is the ability to appreciate and interpret joint motions. Sensation of force
is the ability to appreciate and interpret force applied to or generated within a joint.

Due to its vast mobility, proprioception is crucial at the shoulder joint to ensure optimal function. Proprioception deficits
may result in a decrease in shoulder stability and alteration in the control of the shoulder, and eventually to injuries, pain and
disability. Therefore, in clinical settings, all aspects of shoulder proprioception should be objectively measured to characterize
the proprioceptive deficits that need to be rehabilitate in order to improve prevention and treatment outcomes. 

Research on shoulder proprioception has so far mainly focused on joint position sense(JPS) and kinesthesia, while only few
studies have looked shoulder sense of force (SSF). However, because the glenohumeral joint primarily relies on dynamic control to
maintain stability, the evaluation of SSF could be of particular clinical interest. Indeed, neuromuscular control of the rotator cuff
is important to stabilize the joint and limit the risk of injury. Although some reliable measurement techniques have been proposed
to assess SSF, mostly using stationary dynamometers, their implementation in clinical practice is limited due to the equipment and
the time needed  to perform these evaluations making them difficult to implement. In contrast, hand-held dynamometers (HHD) are
reliable, relatively cheap and quick and easy to use. To date, no study has evaluated psychometric properties of HHD for the
assessment of SSF. The purpose of the project is to assess applicability, validity and reliability of SSF assessed with HHD.
Project in collaboration with M. Xavier Amen

List of persons in charge :

  • VAN CANT Joachim