Skin strain patterns provide kinaesthetic information to the human central nervous system

J Physiol. 1995 Aug 15;487(1):243-51. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1995.sp020875.


1. We investigated the contribution of skin strain-related sensory inputs to movement perception and execution in five normal volunteers. The dorsal and palmar skin of the middle phalanx and the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint were manipulated to generate specific strain patterns in the proximal part of the index finger. To mask sensations directly related to this manipulation, skin and deeper tissues were blocked distal to the mid-portion of the proximal phalanx of the index finger by local anaesthesia. 2. Subjects were asked to move their normal right index finger either to mimic any perceived movements of the anaesthetized finger or to touch the tip of the insentient finger. 3. All subjects readily reproduced actual movements induced by the experimenter at the anaesthetized PIP joint. However, all subjects also generated flexion movements when the experimenter did not induce actual movement but produced deformations in the sentient proximal skin that were similar to those observed during actual PIP joint flexion. Likewise, the subjects indicated extension movement at the PIP joint when strain patterns corresponding to extension movements were induced. 4. In contrast, when the skin strain in the proximal part of the index finger was damped by a ring applied just proximal to the PIP joint within the anaesthetized skin area, both tested subjects failed to perceive PIP movements that actually took place.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Female
  • Finger Joint / physiology
  • Fingers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Self Concept
  • Sensation / physiology*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*
  • Stress, Mechanical