What is proprioception?
Every time we move, we trigger the activation of receptors in our muscles, joints, and skin.
Charles Scott Sherrington, a great neurosurgeon and winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, called the sensory signals triggered by movement proprioceptors.
Is proprioception important?
Proprioceptors are very specialized sensory organs; they give our brain information about our body when we are still, at rest or in motion. Even when a movement has already started, the proprioception signals allow the movement to adjust and improve performance.
For example, when we run, proprioception is continuously activated in our body and allows us to perform the technical movement safely. Our proprioceptors help tell our brain when it’s time for our ankles to react to absorb the impact of the ground or slow down to avoid a strain, for example. This sensory perception applies to all movements whether we are running, training, jumping, playing volleyball, basketball, practicing tennis, football, racing, hiking or walking.
Those who have problems with proprioception because of trauma to the joints or degenerative pathologies of the nervous system may have an unstable movement, increasing the risk of falls and injuries.
If we stimulate proprioceptors at the ankle by pressing strongly, we can improve our motor control and have beneficial effects.