Author(s): R L Barrack, H B Skinner, S D Cook, R J Haddad Jr
Joint proprioception in the human knee has been studied using two previously described tests. Threshold of detection of slow, constant, passive motion and ability to reproduce angles to which the knee was passively placed were accurately measured. A group of postoperative total knee arthroplasty (TKA) patients were examined. All patients also had documented articular disease in the unoperated knee. Results were compared to age-matched controls. In addition, a young control group was studied for comparison to both groups. A significant difference was seen between the young control group and the older control group in both tests performed. Age-matched controls and the postoperative patients demonstrated an even greater difference. There was, however, no difference between the operated and unoperated knee among the TKA patients. It is concluded that joint proprioception declines to some degree with normal aging. A more marked decline is associated with degenerative joint disease. Total joint replacement, however, did not lead to a further decrease in sensation.