Exploring the relationship of static and dynamic balance with muscle mechanical properties of the lower limbs in healthy young adults

Mathew W. Hill*, Maximilian M. Wdowski, Katarzyna Rosicka, Anthony D. Kay, Thomas Muehlbauer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


There is emerging evidence that mechanical properties of in vivo muscle tissues are associated with postural sway during quiet standing. However, it is unknown if the observed relationship between mechanical properties with static balance parameters generalise to dynamic balance. Thus, we determined the relationship between static and dynamic balance parameters with muscle mechanical properties of the ankle plantar flexors [lateral gastrocnemius (GL)] and knee extensors [vastus lateralis (VL)] in vivo. Twenty-six participants (men = 16, women = 10; age = 23.3 ± 4.4 years) were assessed for static balance [centre of pressure (COP) movements during quiet standing], dynamic balance (reach distances for the Y-balance test) and mechanical properties (stiffness and tone) of the GL and VL measured in the standing and lying position. Significant (p < .05) small to moderate inverse correlations were observed between the mean COP velocity during quiet standing with stiffness (r = −.40 to −.58, p = .002 to .042) and tone (r = −0.42 to −0.56, p = 0.003 to 0.036) of the GL and VL (lying and standing). Tone and stiffness explained 16%–33% of the variance in the mean COP velocity. Stiffness and tone of the VL measured in the lying (supine) condition were also inversely significantly correlated with Y balance test performance (r = −0.39 to −0.46, p = 0.018 to 0.049). These findings highlight that individuals with low muscle stiffness and tone exhibit faster COP movements during quiet standing, indicative of reduced postural control but also reveal that low VL stiffness and tone are associated with greater reach distances in a lower extremity reaching task, indicative of greater neuromuscular performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1168314
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 Hill, Wdowski, Rosicka, Kay and Muehlbauer.


  • biomechanical properties
  • centre of pressure displacement
  • distance reaching
  • muscle stiffness
  • myotonometry
  • postural control
  • viscoelasticity


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