Diminished plantar cutaneous sensation and postural control

Percept Mot Skills. 2007 Feb;104(1):56-66. doi: 10.2466/pms.104.1.56-66.


The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of diminished plantar cutaneous sensation induced by cooling on postural control during double- and single-limb quiet standing. 32 healthy adults were tested on an intervention day and control day. The intervention consisted of 10 min. of ice immersion of the plantar aspect of the feet prior to balance testing. Dependent variables were center of pressure velocity and area during double- and single-limb stance with eyes open and closed. Significant interactions were found between sensation and vision for double-limb center of pressure area, with a significant reduction in area of center of pressure excursions after reducing sensation with eyes closed but not with eyes open. The area of center of pressure excursions may have been reduced in an effort to curtail exploratory postural behavior given the altered afferent input from plantar receptors. There were no significant differences for plantar hypoesthesia in single-limb stance.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biofeedback, Psychology / physiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Foot / innervation*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypesthesia / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Sensory Deprivation / physiology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiopathology*
  • Skin / innervation*
  • Tibial Nerve / physiopathology
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology*