The age-related changes of trunk responses to Achilles tendon vibration

Diana Abrahámová, Martina Mancini, František Hlavačka, Lorenzo Chiari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The contribution of different sensory modalities to balance control is modified by age. Postural responses to Achilles tendon vibration were investigated in order to understand the influence of age on proprioceptive input from lower legs in human stance. Postural responses to bilateral vibrations of Achilles tendon with 10 s duration were recorded at three frequencies (40, 60 and 80 Hz) in 9 healthy young (range, 24-27 years) and in 9 healthy older adults (59-70 years). Subjects were instructed to keep standing on firm surface with eyes closed. They performed three trials in each of three vibration frequencies. Postural responses were characterized by displacement of the centre of foot pressure (CoP) and by kinematics of body segments in the anterior-posterior direction. Bilateral vibrations of Achilles tendon induced backward body lean increasing with frequency of vibration and with age. The leg angle response to vibration was found similar in both groups of subjects. Slight trunk tilts from vertical position were induced by vibration in young subjects while in older subjects the trunk tilted backward together with the whole body. This observation was supported also by the minimal change of hip angle in older subjects contrary to increased hip activity in young subjects. The findings showed that the trunk and hip angle responses to proprioceptive stimulation might be a good indicator of age-related destabilization in balance control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-224
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 31 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Achilles tendon
  • Age
  • Human balance
  • Vibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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