Close your eyes and stick both of your arms out in front of you. Now, with your left index finger touch the tip of your nose, and now with the right finger. Easy enough, but how is it so easy even with your eyes closed? The answer is proprioception. Proprioception is a constant cycle of messages being sent from the body to the brain allowing the brain to know where our body parts are in space and what those body parts are doing. The process starts with movement of our skin, muscles, and joints. Sensors in these areas detect movement and send a signal to the brain relaying that message. This allows our bodies to coordinate movements and to move freely throughout space.
A good example of proprioception working to our benefit is when we stumble and catch ourselves before falling to the ground. When we slip our body, using proprioception, recognizes that we are slipping and the body responds by trying to correct our feet and sticking out our arms to catch ourselves.
Someone with decreased proprioception may experience balance issues with frequent slips and falls, uncoordinated movements, poor posture and general clumsiness. This person may also avoid certain activities that require coordination such as climbing up and down stairs, or walking on uneven ground.