Today we are talking about proprioception. Proprioception is closely related to our balance. Let’s learn more anout proprioception: it is our body’s ability to know where our limbs are in space and to feel our movements. Proprioception is complex, but in simple terms, receptors located in our muscles, ligaments and skin send signals to our brain when we move. The brain tthen analyzes the information and can correct the position of our body parts by sending a message to our muscles.
It’s the middle of winter. Despite the cold, you get out your coat, tuque and mittens, because you are determined to keep yourself in good shape. Your goal is to walk around your neighbourhood for 30 minutes. As you walk, you get distracted and take a step on the edge of the sidewalk. Your foot turns inward, causing an immediate sharp pain on the side of your ankle. It appears that you have sprained your ankle, for the third time in the past few years. You begin to wonder if there is anything you can do to reduce the risk of a fourth sprain. The answer is here!
Proprioception exercises are the key. They reduce the risk of injury to the ankle, knee, back, shoulders and many other joints. Athletes regularly work on their proprioception, but you can also work on it at home with simple exercises.
What can decrease proprioception
Various injuries can cause a decrease in proprioception. Knee and ankle sprains and tendonitis are good examples, regardless of the joint involved. For example, there is often a decrease in proprioception of the shoulder blade in the event of a muscle tear. In addition to injuries, age, fatigue or other diseases can affect proprioception.
Regardless of your condition, CMI Clinic physiotherapists will assess your abilities and determine whether proprioception exercises are necessary.
What should you expect during your physiotherapy consultation?
Your physiotherapist will teach you various exercises to improve proprioception. Some of these must be performed in a gym or in our clinics because they require special equipment. Other exercises can easily be done at home.
Physiotherapists generally recommend exercises that require a ball, a Bosu (half ball) or balance boards. Exercises can include weight transfers, squats or upper body movements. Do not hesitate to consult your physiotherapist for advice on how to perform these exercises.
At home, you can improve your leg proprioception by balancing on a cushion or pillow. Try closing your eyes if you want to increase the difficulty of the exercise. For your arm, you can trace the letters of the alphabet against a wall with a balloon under your hand. These exercises are simple, but they can quickly be modified to increase the difficulty as you progress.
Having good proprioception
For more active people, good proprioception will reduce the risk of injury in your daily activities. For those who enjoy running or hiking, it will increase the stability of your legs.
For elderly people, these exercises will increase your balance and reduce your reaction time in case of imbalance. Your risk of falling will thus be reduced!
Regardless of your age or level of activity, it is beneficial to add some proprioception exercises to your workout routine. Tthe next time you take a walk around your neighbourhood, you’ll be able to get home without any injuries.
Do not wait to consult your physiotherapist. We will be happy to evaluate your physical abilities and recommend good exercises, whether following an injury or simply as a preventive measure.