Effect of Sensory Stimulation Applied Under the Great Toe on Postural Ability in Patients With Fibromyalgia

Somatosens Mot Res. 2020 May 18;1-8. doi: 10.1080/08990220.2020.1765767. Online ahead of print.


Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain syndrome, characterised by several symptoms. One of the most prevalent symptoms in FM is balance impairment that compromise the autonomy, function and performance status of patients.Purpose: The main objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of sensory stimulation provided by the use of a low additional thickness of 0.8 mm placed under the great toes bilaterally on the centre of pressure (CoP) measures in patients with FM. It was hypothesised that postural ability would change with a low focal additional thickness used to compute these measures.Materials and Method: Twenty-four patients with FM voluntarily participated in this study. Postural performance during quiet standing was investigated through the CoP displacements recorded using a force-plate. Sensory stimulation was provided by a small additional thickness of 0.8 mm placed under the great toe bilaterally and two conditions were compared: additional thickness 0 (control) and 0.8 mm.Results: An improvement of body balance through spatial parameters with sensory cutaneous stimulation applied under the great toe bilaterally were observed in patients with FM. Our results showed a significant decrease of surface area and mean speed of CoP, associated to a significant decrease of variance of speed. An additional observation is that sagittal (Y) mean position of the CoP gets more anterior (+ 5 mm) relative to control condition.Conclusion: These findings brings new clinical perspectives in the development of intervention strategies in the management of patients with FM and balance disorders, completing validated therapeutic strategies.

Keywords: Fibromyalgia; cutaneous feedback; postural control.