June 2015

Patients with ankle instability respond to auditory feedback by changing gait

In the moment: Sports medicine

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Plantar pressure-based auditory feedback is associated with changes in plantar pressure and muscle activation during gait in patients with chronic ankle instability, according to research from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

An in-shoe biofeedback device, with a sensor under the fifth metatarsal head that was programmed to emit a noise in response to excessive lateral plantar pressure, was employed in 10 individuals with chronic ankle instability, who were instructed to walk in a manner that was as normal as possible but without triggering the noise.

Compared with the participants’ normal gait, the feedback device was associated with significant plantar pressure decreases in the lateral forefoot and midfoot and the central forefoot. Electromyography also revealed increases in peroneus longus and medial gastroc­nemius activation during early stance.

“It was interesting to see that some of the measures that were proximal to the sensor were changed as well,” said Luke Donovan, PhD, ATC, now an assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Toledo in Ohio, who presented the findings in May at the ACSM meeting.


Donovan L, Hart JM, Saliba S, et al. Effects of an auditory biofeedback device on plantar pressure in participants with chronic ankle instability. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2015;46(5 Suppl);S104.

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