Article Text

This article has a correction. Please see:

Download PDFPDF
Proprioceptive regulation of voluntary ankle movements, demonstrated using muscle vibration, is impaired by Parkinson’s disease
  1. Etedal Khudadosc,
  2. Frederick W J Codya,
  3. Donald J O’Boyleb
  1. aSchool of Biological Sciences, bDepartment of Psychology, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK, cDepartments of Neurology and Surgery, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester M13 9WL, UK
  1. Dr F W J Cody, School of Biological Sciences, Room 1.124, Stopford Building, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, UK. Telephone 0044 61 275 5380; fax 0044 61 275 5363.


OBJECTIVE To test the hypothesis that the proprioceptive regulation of voluntary movement is disturbed by Parkinson’s disease, the effects of experimental stimulation of proprioceptors, using muscle vibration, on the trajectories of voluntary dorsiflexion movements of the ankle joint were compared between parkinsonian and control subjects.

METHODS Twenty one patients with Parkinson’s disease, on routine medication (levodopa in all but one), and an equal number of age matched, neurologically intact controls, were trained initially to make reproducible ankle dorsiflexion movements (20° amplitude with a velocity of 9.7°/s) following a visual “go” cue while movement trajectories were recorded goniometrically. During 50% of the experimental trials, vibration (105 Hz; 0.7 mm peak to peak) was applied to the Achilles tendon during the ankle movement to stimulate antagonist muscle spindles; vibrated and non-vibrated trials were interspersed randomly. Subjects’ performance was assessed by measuring end point position—that is, the ankle angle attained 2 seconds after the visual “go” cue, from averaged (20 trials) trajectories.

RESULTS Statistical analysis of the end point amplitudes of movement showed that, whereas the amplitudes of non-vibrated movements did not differ significantly between patients with Parkinson’s disease and controls, antagonist muscle vibration produced a highly significant reduction in the amplitudes of ankle dorsiflexion movements in both the patient and control groups. However, the extent of vibration induced undershooting produced in the patients with Parkinson’s disease was significantly less than that in the controls; the mean vibrated/non-vibrated ratios were 0.86 and 0.54 for, respectively, the patient and control groups.

CONCLUSIONS The present finding of a reduction of vibration induced ankle movement errors in parkinsonian patients resembles qualitatively previous observations of wrist movements, and suggests that Parkinson’s disease may produce a general impairment of proprioceptive guidance.

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • proprioception
  • vibration

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


Linked Articles

  • Correction
    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd