The effect of plantar flexor muscle fatigue on postural control

Yoav Gimmon, Raziel Riemer, Lars Oddsson, Itshak Melzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Previous studies have demonstrated that ankle muscle fatigue alters postural sway. Our aim was to better understand postural control mechanisms during upright stance following plantar flexor fatigue. Method: Ten healthy young volunteers, 25.7 ± 2.2. years old, were recruited. Foot center-of-pressure (CoP) displacement data were collected during narrow base upright stance and eyes closed (i.e. blindfolded) conditions. Subjects were instructed to stand upright and as still as possible on a force platform under five test conditions: (1) non-fatigue standing on firm surface; (2) non-fatigue standing on foam; (3) ankle plantar flexor fatigue, standing on firm surface; (4) ankle plantar flexor fatigue, standing on foam; and (5) upper limb fatigue, standing on firm surface. An average of the ten 30-s trials in each of five test conditions was calculated to assess the mean differences between the trials. Traditional measures of postural stability and stabilogram-diffusion analysis (SDA) parameters were analyzed. Results: Traditional center of pressure parameters were affected by plantar flexor fatigue, especially in the AP direction. For the SDA parameters, plantar flexor fatigue caused significantly higher short-term diffusion coefficients, and critical displacement in both mediolateral (ML) and anteroposterior (AP) directions. Long-term postural sway was different only in the AP direction. Conclusions: Localized plantar flexor fatigue caused impairment to postural control mainly in the Sagittal plane. The findings indicate that postural corrections, on average, occurred at a higher threshold of sway during plantar flexor fatigue compared to non-fatigue conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)922-928
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Center of pressure
  • Force platform
  • Plantar flexor muscle fatigue
  • Postural stability
  • Stabilogram-diffusion analysis
  • Sway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology


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