Vibrating insoles and balance control in elderly people

Lancet. 2003 Oct 4;362(9390):1123-4. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(03)14470-4.


Somatosensory function declines with age, and such changes have been associated with diminished motor performance. Input noise can enhance sensory and motor function. We asked young and elderly participants to stand quietly on vibrating gel-based insoles, and calculated sway parameters and random-walk variables. In our 27 participants, application of noise resulted in a reduction in seven of eight sway parameters in young participants and all of the sway variables in elderly participants. Elderly participants showed greater improvement than young people in two variables, mediolateral range (p=0.008), and critical mean square displacement (p=0.012). Noise-based devices, such as randomly vibrating insoles, could ameliorate age-related impairments in balance control.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Equipment Design / methods
  • Foot / physiology
  • Foot / physiopathology
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Physical Stimulation / methods
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Sensation Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sensation Disorders / physiopathology
  • Sensation Disorders / therapy*
  • Shoes*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology
  • Vibration*
  • Walking / physiology