Tushar Sharma (in collaboration with Dr. Brian Dalton at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan)
Background: Reflex responses from the cutaneous mechanoreceptors of the foot help us maintain balance while standing and walking. However, these reflexes have not been characterized in the small muscles of the foot which are active during tasks such as standing and walking.
Purpose: To characterize properties of cutaneous reflexes in the intrinsic foot muscles.
Eligibility: Healthy, young adults (18-40 years old) with no history of neuromuscular disorders.
What has been found?
Wallace et al. (2018) used electrical vestibular stimulation to analyze the vestibular control of balance. It was found that the intrinsic foot muscles represent the vestibular control of balance. It was also found that the intrinsic foot muscles have a postural role during quiet standing.
Additionally, Kelly et al. (2011) found that the intrinsic foot muscles are important for postural control, evident by their increased activation with increasing postural demands.
Where are we headed?
The Bent Neurophysiology Lab is researching the properties of the reflexes of the intrinsic foot muscles, with hopes to better understand the role of the reflexes during tasks such as standing and walking.