Effect of fatigue on joint position sense of the knee

H. B. Skinner, M. P. Wyatt, J. A. Hodgdon, D. W. Conard, R. L. Barrack

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174 Scopus citations


This study was designed to test position sense of the knee joint before and after fatigue in order to determine whether muscle or capsular receptors are the primary sensors for joint position sense. Reproduction of passive positioning and detection of the onset of motion (kinesthesia) were employed to measure joint position sense. Eleven subjects underwent joint position sense measurement before and after a fatigue protocol. A significant worsening of reproduction of knee joint angle after fatigue was noted (p < 0.05). Threshold (kinesthesia) showed no statistically significant change after fatigue. A significant correlation of reproduction measurements and threshold measurements prior to fatigue (p < 0.01) demonstrated that the same neural mechanism is applicable in the rested state, but these variables did not correlate significantly after fatigue. There was a significant correlation between reproduction measurements before and after fatigue (p = 0.018), while no correlation was seen for the pre‐ and postfatigue threshold measurements, suggesting a change in the neural path after fatigue. Since both tests of joint position sense are affected by fatigue, we conclude that muscle receptors are a prominent, if not primary, determinant of joint position sense, and capsular receptors may have a secondary role. Reproduction ability is decreased, presumably through the loss of efficiency of muscle receptors. The threshold data suggest a change in the mechanism of appreciation after fatigue, possibly due to increased sensitivity of capsular receptors from muscle‐fatigue‐induced laxity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-118
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1986


  • Exercise
  • Fatigue
  • Joint position sense
  • Kinesthesia
  • Knee


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