The roles of proximal and distal muscles in anticipatory postural adjustments under asymmetrical perturbations and during standing on rollerskates

Takako Shiratori, Mark Latash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Objectives: The study addresses two controversial issues surrounding the nature of anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs). The first deals with the reproducible APA patterns in proximal postural muscles and variable APA patterns reported for the muscles controlling the ankle joint (TA-SOL). We hypothesized that the TA-SOL muscles participate mainly in the compensation of lateral and rotational perturbations, in particular those associated with asymmetrical movements. The second issue deals with decreased APAs reported during both very stable and unstable standing. We hypothesized that APA changes during unstable standing might depend on the actual mechanical nature of instability. Methods: Eight healthy subjects were recruited who had had no prior experience with rollerskates. They performed series of bilateral and unilateral, flexion and extension movements during regular standing and bilateral movements during standing on rollerskates. EMG changes and shifts of the center of pressure were analyzed within a time window typical of APAs. Results: We found that APAs in proximal muscles were decreased during unilateral shoulder movements as compared to APAs during bilateral movements but did not show right-left differences. In contrast, the distal muscles (TA- SOL) showed little involvement during bilateral movements, while a clear right-left asymmetry was seen during unilateral movements. Bilateral movements performed while standing on rollerskates were accompanied by unchanged APAs in the proximal muscle pairs and increased APAs in the TA-SOL pair. Conclusions: We conclude that the proximal muscles provide a general pattern counteracting expected perturbations in the anterior-posterior direction while the distal muscles deal with asymmetrical perturbations and the modulation of APAs in unusual conditions such as standing on rollerskates. There seems to be no unambiguous relation between the magnitude of APAs and the stability of standing: Depending on the exact mechanical nature of postural instability, it could be associated with qualitatively different changes in the APAs. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-623
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sensory Systems
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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