August 2013

Customizing stochastic resonance boosts balance effects in FAI patients

In the moment: Sports medicine

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Stochastic resonance stimulation (SRS) more effectively improves balance in patients with functional ankle instability (FAI) when optimized based on each patient’s sensory threshold than when all patients receive the same treatment, according to research from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Investigators applied SRS, which stimulates mechanoreceptors using subsensory mechanical noise, to 12 healthy participants and 12 patients with FAI and determined which of four intensities had the greatest effect on center of pressure velocity in each patient.

Compared a control condition, optimal SRS was associated with immediate single-leg balance improvements of 10% to 17% in patients with FAI—improvements that were not only statistically significant but also greater than gains associated with noncustomized SRS reported by the same group in 2007.

The current study, published in the July/August issue of the Journal of Athletic Training, also found that optimal SRS was associated with significant double-leg balance improvement in all participants.


Ross SE, Linens SW, Wright CJ, Arnold BL. Customized noise-stimulation intensity for bipedal stability and unipedal balance deficits associated with functional ankle instability. J Athl Train 2013;48(4):463-470.

Ross SE. Noise-enhanced postural stability in subjects with functional ankle instability. Br J Sports Med 2007;41(10): 656-659.

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