by Dr. Santo Riva DPT of Victory Performance in Los Angeles CA.
Close your eyes and touch the tip of your nose with your right middle finger and bring your arm back down to your side. Easy-peasy right? If it weren’t for the proprioceptors in your muscles, tendons and joints, it would be an almost impossible task. Proprioception is knowing (without looking) where your body is in space. It is what allows us to walk in the dark, drive a car without having to look at the gas pedal, and pass field sobriety tests. It is crucial in helping us learn new skills and move efficiently.
Proprioception of any joint can be improved with repetition. For example, if you want to increase ankle proprioception to help improve your balance, you can stand on one foot. This will train the proprioceptors in your ankle joint, muscles and tendons. The training makes standing on one foot easier as the proprioceptors become more efficient and effective. Also, Less concentration is required to perform this activity successfully.
So next time you learn something new, like juggling for example, thank your proprioceptors. And remember - perfect practice makes perfect!