Proprioception is the sense of knowing your body's relative position in space. Often referred to as our sixth sense, proprioception allows us to move and navigate environments as we inherently "know" where our limbs, weight, and center of gravity are at any moment in time.
Proprioception is a coordinated neurologic and physiologic response facilitated by specialized nerves known as proprioceptors. These are the sensory receptors situated on the nerve endings of the inner ear, muscles, skin, joints, tendons, and other tissues. They relay information about our body's spatial position to the brain, the signals of which are translated into both large and subtle movements.
The proprioceptors of the body are found primarily in the muscles, tendons, and skin. Among them:
Muscle spindles, also known as stretch receptors, are sensitive to changes in muscle length. These allow you to know when and how far to stretch your legs while walking or your arms when reaching.
Golgi tendon organs, found in the tendons, are sensitive to changes in muscle tension. They sense how much tension a muscle is exerting and what is needed to effect a movement with the appropriate amount of energy.
Pacinian corpuscles are situated in the skin and are responsible for detecting changes in pressure which the body reads as texture, temperature, and other sensations.
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