Unpredictable external perturbation significantly degrades balance and increases the risk of falls, so methods to improve postural control under such perturbation are expected to be beneficial. Considering the important role of somatosensory feedback from ankle tendons in balance regulation, we proposed that applying adhesive elastic tapes to the ankle tendons may affect the postural control. In this initial pilot study, we recruited four healthy young adults and instructed them to balance under forward and backward perturbation which was applied at unpredictable timing by an electrically controlled actuator. The task was performed with and without the application of tapes. We found that cutaneous stimulation to the ankle tendons significantly reduced the peak displacement of the center of pressure (p = 0.008), and changed activations of multiple muscles (gastrocnemius medialis: p = 0.041, biceps femoris: p = 0.023, and erector spinae: p = 0.035) under forward direction perturbation. In contrast, no significant difference was observed under backward direction perturbation. Our findings suggest that cutaneous stimulation by applying adhesive elastic tapes can affect the postural control under unpredictable external perturbation, but its effect may depend on the direction of the perturbation.
Pathak, Prabhat; Park, Jong Hoo; and Ahn, Jooeun
"A PILOT STUDY ASSESSING EFFECTS OF TAPING THE ANKLE TENDONS ON POSTURAL CONTROL UNDER UNPREDICTABLE PERTURBATION,"
ISBS Proceedings Archive: Vol. 40:
1, Article 132.
Available at: https://commons.nmu.edu/isbs/vol40/iss1/132