Significance of pressor input from the human feet in anterior-posterior postural control. The effect of hypothermia on vibration-induced body-sway

Acta Otolaryngol. Sep-Oct 1990;110(3-4):182-8. doi: 10.3109/00016489009122535.


The importance to postural control of the mechanoreceptors of the soles was investigated in thirteen healthy subjects. Body-sway velocity was evaluated before and after exposing the subject's feet to hypothermia, and when calf muscles were exposed to vibration at frequencies between 20 and 100 Hz. Subjects were tested both with eyes open and closed. Body-sway velocity was found to increase significantly during hypothermia of the feet. The difference in body-sway between hypothermal and normothermal conditions was less prominent when the subject's eyes were open though the difference was significant in both cases. The present results indicate the importance of the mechanoreceptors of the soles to postural control and elucidate their interaction with compensatory visual input in maintaining postural control. These findings also suggest, that factors affecting pressor input should be taken into consideration when assessing patients with complaints of dysequilibrium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Foot / innervation*
  • Foot / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Vibration*