A clinical single blind study to investigate the immediate effects of plantar vibration on balance in patients after stroke

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2018 Apr;22(2):242-246. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2017.04.013. Epub 2017 May 5.


Balance disorder is a very common cause of disability in patients after a stroke. Vibration therapy is one of the physiotherapeutic modalities used to improve balance.

Objective: To investigate the immediate effects of plantar vibration on balance in patients with stroke.

Methods: In this single blind comparative study, 22 patients with stroke (8 females, 14 males; age 55.82 ± 11.87 years old) participated. Patients underwent treatment, first with the placebo vibration and 1 week later with active vibration (frequency 100 HZ, 5 min). Mini-BESTest score, Modified Modified Ashworth Scale for plantar flexor spasticity, and ankle dorsiflexion passive range of motion (PROM) were evaluated before and immediately after the placebo or active vibration.

Results: A significant clinical improvement in balance, ankle plantar flexor spasticity, and the ankle dorsiflexion PROM was observed following either placebo or active vibration. The improvements after active vibration were significantly greater for all outcome measures compared with placebo vibration. There was a large effect size (Cohen's d = 0.85) for balance after active vibration.

Conclusion: The vibration applied to the sole of the affected foot of patients after stroke was effective for improving balance, reducing ankle plantar flexor spasticity, and increasing ankle dorsiflexion PROM.

Keywords: Balance; Spasticity; Stroke; Vibration.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ankle Joint / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Foot / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Spasticity / etiology
  • Muscle Spasticity / rehabilitation*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke Rehabilitation / methods*
  • Vibration / therapeutic use*