Moderate alterations in lower limbs muscle temperature do not affect postural stability during quiet standing in both young and older women

Susan Dewhurst, Philip E. Riches, Giuseppe De Vito

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Older adults demonstrate increased amounts of postural sway, which may ultimately lead to falls. Temperature is known to have a profound effect on the performance of the neuromuscular system which could have important implications on motor control. It is, therefore, of interest to investigate if the age-related decline in postural stability could be affected by changes in local limbs temperature. The present study investigated the effects of localized warming and cooling on postural sway in nine young (22 ± 3 years) and nine older (73 ± 3 years) women. Postural sway was assessed, using a single force platform, during quiet standing at three muscle temperature conditions: control (34.2 ± 0.2 °C), cold (31.3 ± 0.3 °C) and warm (37.0 ± 0.1 °C). Two stances were evaluated, the Romberg (large support base) and modified Tandem (narrow support base), under both eyes-open and eyes-closed conditions. Root mean square (RMS), mean velocity (MV), sway area (SA) and mean power frequency (MPF) were calculated from the centre of pressure (COP) displacement. Neither warming nor cooling significantly affected any of the postural parameters which were, however, all higher (P < 0.05) in the older group than the young group in all conditions. This study demonstrated that, in quiet standing conditions, a moderate variation (±3 °C) in lower limbs temperature does not affect postural steadiness in either young or older women.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-298
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Electro - myography and Kinesiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


  • older individuals
  • force platform
  • postural sway
  • romberg
  • tandem
  • muscle temperature

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