Joint-Position Sense and Kinesthesia in Cerebral Palsy

Jason R. Wingert, Harold Burton, Robert J. Sinclair, Janice E. Brunstrom, Diane L. Damiano

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Wingert JR, Burton H, Sinclair RJ, Brunstrom JE, Damiano DL. Joint-position sense and kinesthesia in cerebral palsy. Objectives: To examine joint-position sense and kinesthesia in all extremities in participants with diplegic or hemiplegic cerebral palsy (CP). Design: Survey of joint-position sense and kinesthesia differences between aged-matched controls and 2 groups with CP. Setting: University movement assessment laboratory. Participants: Population-based sample of participants with CP, diplegia (n=21), hemiplegia (n=17), and age-matched volunteers (n=21) without neurologic disease. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Joint-position sense and kinesthesia were measured in the transverse plane (forearm pronation/supination and hip internal/external rotation) using a custom-built device. For joint-position sense, participants actively rotated the tested limb to align the distal end with 10 target positions first with the limb and targets visible to assess their ability to perform the task motorically. The task was then repeated with vision of the limb occluded, with targets remaining visible. Joint-position sense error was determined by the magnitude and direction of the rotation errors for each limb in the vision and no vision conditions. Kinesthesia was evaluated by the ability to detect passive limb rotation without vision. Results: No group differences were detected in the vision condition. Indicative of joint-position sense deficits, a significant increase in errors was found in the no vision condition in all limbs except the dominant upper limb for both groups with CP. Joint-position sense errors were systematically biased toward the direction of internal rotation. Kinesthesia deficits were evident on the nondominant upper limb in diplegia and hemiplegia, and bilaterally in the lower limbs in hemiplegia. In hemiplegia, joint-position sense and kinesthesia deficits were noted on the dominant limbs, but were significantly worse on the nondominant limbs. Conclusions: These results indicate that people with CP have proprioception deficits in all limbs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-453
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Proprioception
  • Rehabilitation
  • Sensation


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