Acuity of proprioceptive sense plays an important role in ankle joint movements and balance control in daily activities and physical exercises, so measuring it accurately is critical. Several factors are thought to affect the measurement of ankle proprioceptive sense and the proprioceptive sense itself, and research evidence has identified factors that induce transient or chronic changes in joint proprioception. However, few studies have investigated the factors that may influence the measurement of proprioceptive acuity and the nature of the trend in ankle proprioception across the life span. In addition, research on how different physical activities relate to ankle proprioception is limited. The aim of this thesis was firstly to explore the effect of laterality on the proprioceptive ability of the ankle joint, next to examine the across-life-span age-related changes in proprioceptive ability, and then to consider the associations of different types of physical activities with the proprioceptive aging process. All research studies were conducted using an active movement extent discrimination task involving ankle inversion movements that are similar to normal joint function in sports and daily activities. In addition, the relationship between different ankle proprioception measurements was investigated to better understand whether all methods of measurement are testing the same aspect of proprioception, and to determine which method is the most appropriate for assessing ankle proprioception in different settings. A series of five studies was conducted, starting with developing valid and reliable Chinese-language laterality questionnaires, to ensure that the laterality of each participant could be appropriately determined for use in later studies. Then one study focused on laterality in the process of familiarization, considering laterality effects on proprioceptive performance. Further research studies examined the relationship between different proprioception measurements, age-related effects on proprioceptive ability, and the associations of different types of physical activities on proprioceptive ability.
|Date of Award
|Gordon Waddington (Supervisor) & Roger Adams (Supervisor)