, Volume 183, Issue 3, pp 323-327

Re-weighting of somatosensory inputs from the foot and the ankle for controlling posture during quiet standing following trunk extensor muscles fatigue

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Abstract

The present study focused on the effects of trunk extensor muscles fatigue on postural control during quiet standing under different somatosensory conditions from the foot and the ankle. With this aim, 20 young healthy adults were asked to stand as immobile as possible in two conditions of No fatigue and Fatigue of trunk extensor muscles. In Experiment 1 (n = 10), somatosensation from the foot and the ankle was degraded by standing on a foam surface. In Experiment 2 (n = 10), somatosensation from the foot and ankle was facilitated through the increased cutaneous feedback at the foot and ankle provided by strips of athletic tape applied across both ankle joints. The centre of foot pressure displacements (CoP) were recorded using a force platform. The results showed that (1) trunk extensor muscles fatigue increased CoP displacements under normal somatosensatory conditions (Experiment 1 and Experiment 2), (2) this destabilizing effect was exacerbated when somatosensation from the foot and the ankle was degraded (Experiment 1), and (3) this destabilizing effect was mitigated when somatosensation from the foot and the ankle was facilitated (Experiment 2). Altogether, the present findings evidenced re-weighting of sensory cues for controlling posture during quiet standing following trunk extensor muscles fatigue by increasing the reliance on the somatosensory inputs from the foot and the ankle. This could have implications in clinical and rehabilitative areas.