Intrinsic foot muscle hardness is related to dynamic postural stability after landing in healthy young men

Noriaki Maeda, Arisu Hirota, Makoto Komiya, Masanori Morikawa, Rami Mizuta, Hironori Fujishita, Yuichi Nishikawa, Toshiki Kobayashi, Yukio Urabe

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The human foot has competent mechanisms for supporting weight and adapting movement to various surfaces; in particular, the toe flexor muscles aid in supporting the foot arches and may be important contributors to postural stability. However, the role of intrinsic foot muscle morphology and structure in the postural control system remains unclear, and the relationship between them is not well known. Research question: Are intrinsic foot muscle morphology and toe flexor strength related to static and dynamic postural stability in healthy young men?. Methods: A total of 27 healthy men aged 19–27 years participated in this study. intrinsic foot muscle morphology included muscle hardness and thickness. Cross-sectional area was measured by ultrasonography at an ankle dorsiflexion angle of 0°. The hardness of the abductor hallucis (AbH), flexor hallucis brevis, and flexor digitorum brevis (FDB) muscles was measured using ultrasound real-time tissue elastography. Static postural stability during single-leg standing on a single force platform with closed eyes was assessed for the right leg. In the assessment of dynamic postural stability, the subjects jumped and landed on single-leg onto a force platform and the dynamic postural stability index (DPSI) was measured. Results: FDB muscle thickness showed a positive correlation with anteroposterior stability index (APSI) (r = 0.398, p = 0.040). AbH muscle hardness was negatively correlated with APSI (r = −0.407, p = 0.035); whereas FDB muscle hardness was positively correlated with DPSI (r = 0.534, p = 0.004), vertical stability index (r = 0.545, p = 0.003), and maximum vertical ground reaction force (r = 0.447, p = 0.020). Multiple regression with forced entry revealed that only DPSI was significantly correlated with FDB muscle hardness (p = 0.003). Significance: The results indicated that intrinsic foot muscle hardness plays an important role in dynamic postural control among healthy young men, which may enable a more rapid muscular response to changes in condition during jump landing and better performance in balance tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-198
Number of pages7
JournalGait and Posture
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Cross-sectional area
  • Dynamic postural stability
  • Muscle hardness
  • Muscle thickness
  • Static postural stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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