PURPOSE: Previous research has found hemispheric asymmetries in the utilization of proprioceptive information. It is undetermined, however, if there is any change in asymmetry in proprioceptive function when external stimulation, such as vibration, is presented. The present study was to investigate the immediate effects of vibration stimulation (VS) on bilateral ankle proprioception.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Forty-six recreational male basketball players were included. Proprioception was assessed by using the active movement extent discrimination apparatus (AMEDA) in standing, and vibration was provided by using a vibrating form roller on the peroneal or gastrocnemius muscles.
RESULTS: When participants were divided into high score and low score groups, according to the median of the baseline proprioceptive performance, VS (irrespective of whether vibrating the peroneal or gastrocnemius muscles) significantly improved left non-dominant ankle proprioception in the low proprioceptive performer group (p = 0.019), while significantly deteriorated right dominant ankle proprioception in the high proprioceptive performer group (p = 0.011).
CONCLUSIONS: The results found that external stimuli reversely affect proprioception in better and worse performing groups. This suggests that there are differences in the processing of external stimulus signals on different bilateral hemispheres and in different groups (high score vs low score groups), which may be related to hemispheric asymmetry and stochastic resonance. Therefore, it is necessary to explore more specific interventions in the future.