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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 73:473-477 doi:10.1136/jnnp.73.5.473
  • Physical signs

Joint position sense and vibration sense: anatomical organisation and assessment

  1. S Gilman
  1. Department of Neurology, University of Michigan Medical Center, 1500 E Medical Center Drive, 1914 Taubman Center, Ann Arbor MI 48109-0316, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr S Gilman, Department of Neurology, University of Michigan Medical Center, 1500 E Medical Center Drive, 1914 Taubman Center, Ann Arbor, MI 48109–0316, USA;
 sgilman{at}umich.edu

    Abstract

    Clinical examination of joint position sense and vibration sense can provide important information concerning specific cutaneous sensory receptors, peripheral nerves, dorsal roots, and central nervous system pathways and should be included as a regular component of the neurological examination. Although these sensory modalities share a spinal cord and brainstem pathway, they arise in different receptors and terminate in separate distributions within the thalamus and cerebral cortex. Consequently, both modalities should be tested as part of the neurological examination. Clinical testing of these modalities requires simultaneous stimulation of tactile receptors; hence this review will include information about the receptors and pathways responsible for tactile sensation.

    Footnotes

    • Competing interests: none declared