The impact of unexpected platform perturbation on ankle proprioception ability in static and dynamic starting positions

Nili Steinberg, Galit Tenenbaum, Jeremy Witchalls, Gordon Waddington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To examine the relationship between ankle proprioception and the ability to maintain balance with increased magnitudes of unexpected perturbations; and to compare the participants’ ability to maintain balance following perturbations when starting from static and dynamic positions. Methods: Sixty physical education students (average 24.6 years) were tested for proprioception ability (AUC scores) and balance challenges presented on a perturbation treadmill. The degree at which participants lost postural balance was recorded in seven starting positions: standing-eyes-open (SO), standing-eyes-closed (SC), tandem-dominant (TD), tandem non-dominant, (TND) single-leg lateral side perturbation (SLP), single-leg medial side perturbation (SMP), and walking. Perturbation scores were analysed divided by tertiles. Multidimensional Unfolding SPSS Statistics 25 (PREFSCAL) was used to examine the relationships between data sets. Results: AUC scores of both dominant and non-dominant legs were significantly correlated with SO (r = 0.316; r = 0.445), SC (r = 0.364; r = 0.413), TD (r = 0.346; r = 0.308), and walking (r = 0.265; r = 0.439), respectively. In the dominant-leg, AUC scores of individuals with below-median SO scores were significantly worse compared to those with median SO scores (p = .046). In the non-dominant leg, individuals with above-median SC had significantly better AUC scores compared to those with lower-than-median SC (p = .008). Those with median and above-median SO and walking achieved better AUC scores than those with below-median (SO: p = .049, p = .004; walking: p = .016, p < .001, respectively). In dimension I, the SLP and SMP were located opposite one another; in dimension II, the TD and TND were located at the upper side, whereas SC, SO and walking were at the lowest side. Conclusions: AUC scores were significantly correlated with the level at which postural balance was lost, whereby the better the proprioception ability, the better the ability to maintain balance. As such, the ability to maintain balance is harder in tandem positions than in standing and walking positions. This ability differed when perturbations were to the lateral or medial sides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-172
Number of pages6
JournalGait Posture
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


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