Influence of prolonged wearing of unstable shoes on upright standing postural control

Andreia S.P. Sousa, Rui Macedo, Rubim Santos, Filipa Sousa, Andreia Silva, João Manuel R.S. Tavares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To study the influence of prolonged wearing of unstable shoes on standing postural control in prolonged standing workers. Methods: The participants were divided into two groups: one wore unstable shoes while the other wore conventional shoes for 8 weeks. Stabilometry parameters related to centre of pressure (CoP), rambling (RM) and trembling (TR) as well as the total agonist/antagonist muscle activity, antagonist co-activation and reciprocal activation were evaluated during upright standing, before and after the 8 weeks period. In both moments, the subjects were evaluated wearing the unstable shoes and in barefoot. Results: The unstable shoe condition presented increased CoP displacement related variables and decreased co-activation command compared to barefoot before and after the intervention. The prolonged wearing of unstable shoes led to: (1) reduction of medial-lateral CoP root mean square and area; (2) decreased anteroposterior RM displacement; (3) increased anteroposterior RM mean velocity and mediolateral RM displacement; (4) decreased anteroposterior TR RMS; and (5) increased thigh antagonist co-activation in the unstable shoe condition. Conclusion: The unstable shoe condition is associated to a higher destabilising effect that leads to a selection of more efficient and accurate postural commands compared to barefoot. Prolonged wearing of unstable shoes provides increased effectiveness and performance of the postural control system, while wearing of unstable shoes in upright standing, that are reflected by changes in CoP related variables and by a reorganisation of postural control commands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 142–153
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Movement Science
Early online date28 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


  • stabilometry
  • antagonist co-activation
  • reciprocal activation
  • postural control performance
  • unstable support
  • prolonged standing workers


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