Effects of joint immobilization on standing balance

Hum Mov Sci. 2009 Aug;28(4):515-28. doi: 10.1016/j.humov.2009.02.001. Epub 2009 Apr 1.


We investigated the effect of joint immobilization on the postural sway during quiet standing. We hypothesized that the center of pressure (COP), rambling, and trembling trajectories would be affected by joint immobilization. Ten young adults stood on a force plate during 60 s without and with immobilized joints (only knees constrained, CK; knees and hips, CH; and knees, hips, and trunk, CT), with their eyes open (OE) or closed (CE). The root mean square deviation (RMS, the standard deviation from the mean) and mean speed of COP, rambling, and trembling trajectories in the anterior-posterior and medial-lateral directions were analyzed. Similar effects of vision were observed for both directions: larger amplitudes for all variables were observed in the CE condition. In the anterior-posterior direction, postural sway increased only when the knees, hips, and trunk were immobilized. For the medial-lateral direction, the RMS and the mean speed of the COP, rambling, and trembling displacements decreased after immobilization of knees and hips and knees, hips, and trunk. These findings indicate that the single inverted pendulum model is unable to completely explain the processes involved in the control of the quiet upright stance in the anterior-posterior and medial-lateral directions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computer Graphics
  • Female
  • Hip Joint / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immobilization / methods*
  • Joints / physiology*
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Male
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Sensory Deprivation / physiology
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Software
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology
  • Young Adult