Assessment and enhancement of joint position sense is an inexact science at best. Anew method of evaluating and improving this sense using motion-tracking technology that incorporates computer visualization graphics was examined. Injured and healthy subjects were evaluated for their abilities to determine shoulder joint position, after abduction, in two tasks. The first was active reproduction of a passively placed angle. The second was visual reproduction of such an angle. A training protocol was added to determine the effectiveness of proprioceptive training in conjunction with 3-D visualization techniques. The primary findings were (a) a significant difference (p = .05) in the level of joint position sense in injured vs. healthy subjects; (b) significantly less accurate reproduction of larger shoulder abduction vs. the smaller movement in the active reproduction task; (c) significantly greater ability to accurately reproduce angles actively vs. visually; and (d) that proprioception training using 3-D visualization techniques significantly increased active and visual reproductions of passively placed angles.
Semyon M. Slobounov, Shannon T. Poole, and Robert F. Simon are with the Department of Kinesiology, College of Health and Human Development; Elena S. Slobounov is with the Center for Academic Computing; and Jill A. Bush, Wayne Sebastianelli, and William Kraemer are with the Center for Sport Medicine, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802.