Age-related Decline in Proprioception

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Joint-position sense of the knee was measured in 29 subjects with normal knee joints ranging in age from 20 to 82 years. Joint-position sense was determined by two common techniques that measure the threshold to detection of motion and the ability to reproduce passive knee positioning. Joint-position sense was found to deteriorate with increasing age as measured by both tests, with a correlation coefficient that was significant at the p < 0.001 level for each test. The two tests were found to correlate at the p < 0.025 level, indicating that the same biologic parameter was being measured by both tests. Deterioration of proprioception, or joint-position sense, as measured may be a sensitive indicator of subclinical degenerative joint disease of the knee, as well as a means of quantitating proprioception in suspected neuropathic joints.

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