Sensorimotor system measurement techniques

J Athl Train. 2002 Jan;37(1):85-98.


Objective: To provide an overview of currently available sensorimotor assessment techniques.

Data sources: We drew information from an extensive review of the scientific literature conducted in the areas of proprioception, neuromuscular control, and motor control measurement. Literature searches were conducted using MEDLINE for the years 1965 to 1999 with the key words proprioception, somatosensory evoked potentials, nerve conduction testing, electromyography, muscle dynamometry, isometric, isokinetic, kinetic, kinematic, posture, equilibrium, balance, stiffness, neuromuscular, sensorimotor, and measurement. Additional sources were collected using the reference lists of identified articles.

Data synthesis: Sensorimotor measurement techniques are discussed with reference to the underlying physiologic mechanisms, influential factors and locations of the variable within the system, clinical research questions, limitations of the measurement technique, and directions for future research.

Conclusions/recommendations: The complex interactions and relationships among the individual components of the sensorimotor system make measuring and analyzing specific characteristics and functions difficult. Additionally, the specific assessment techniques used to measure a variable can influence attained results. Optimizing the application of sensorimotor research to clinical settings can, therefore, be best accomplished through the use of common nomenclature to describe underlying physiologic mechanisms and specific measurement techniques.