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The sense of position and movement of the limbs and the sense of muscular tension. The awareness of the orientation of the body in space and the direction, extent, and rate of movement of the limbs depend in part upon information derived from sensory receptors in the joints, tendons, and muscles. Information from these receptors, called proprioceptors, is normally integrated with that arising from vestibular receptors (which signal gravitational acceleration and changes in velocity of movements of the head), as well as from visual, auditory, and tactile receptors. Sensory information from certain proprioceptors, particularly those in muscles and tendons, need not reach consciousness, but can be used by the motor system as feedback to guide postural adjustments and control of well-practiced or semiautomatic movements such as those involved in walking.
Receptors for proprioception are the endings of peripheral nerve fibers within the capsule or ligaments of the joints or within muscle. These endings are associated with specialized end organs such as Pacinian corpuscles, Ruffini's cylinders, and Golgi organs (the latter resembling histologic Golgi structures in the skin), and muscle spindles. See Cutaneous sensation, Sensation, Somesthesis