NYMC Faculty Publications

Rehabilitation after Complete Hemisensory Loss: Report of Two Cases

Journal Title

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Document Type


Publication Date

August 2019


Rehabilitation Medicine


The role and function that proprioception plays in movement and motor learning has been debated since the 19 Century, but can be difficult to isolate and study. Lesions at various points along the proprioceptive pathway result in afferent paresis that can be significantly disabling. Compensatory mechanisms can help with successful rehabilitation and provide an opportunity to study the role of these mechanisms in sensory feedback. Here we present two cases of adult patients with complete hemisensory loss following a stroke: one patient with a cortical stroke, the other with a thalamic stroke. First, we see that that motor learning can occur without proprioception, with the help of visual feedback. Second, proprioception plays an important role in movement: in the upper extremity, it can facilitate individual finger movements, and in the lower extremity, it maintains sufficient knee flexion to prevent the knee from going into recurvatum (backward bending) during ambulation.