Human balance control during cutaneous stimulation of the plantar soles

Neurosci Lett. 2001 Apr 13;302(1):45-8. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(01)01655-x.


Previous work on human postural control of upright stance, performed in the absence of visual and vestibular orientation cues, suggests that somatosensory cues in the feet enable subjects to maintain equilibrium during low-frequency platform tilts. Here we confirm earlier studies which indicated that stimulation of plantar cutaneous mechanoreceptors can lead to postural responses. Yet, this stimulation did not modify considerably the postural reactions of normal subjects and vestibular loss patients during platform tilts. We therefore suggest that it is necessary to differentiate between (i) cues from plantar cutaneous receptors involved in exteroceptive functions, like the evaluation of the support structure or of relative foot-to-surface motion, and (ii) cues from deep receptors which subserve proprioceptive functions like the control of center of pressure shifts within the limits of the foot support base.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cues*
  • Female
  • Foot / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Tibial Nerve / physiology
  • Vestibulocochlear Nerve Diseases*
  • Vibration