The Role of Cutaneous Receptors in the Foot

  • J. Timothy Inglis
  • Paul M. Kennedy
  • Cari Wells
  • Romeo Chua
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 508)


Cutaneous receptors in the foot sole appear to contribute to the control of human stance and locomotion. Two approaches were undertaken to establish the characteristics of the receptors in the sole. Psychophysical vibrotactile thresholds (range 25-400 Hz) were determined across the unloaded sole in young and elderly subjects. Thresholds were lower in the ball and arch of the sole, than in the heel and toe regions. Elderly subjects demonstrated significantly elevated thresholds for high-frequency vibration. Secondly, microneurographic recordings were made from skin afferents of the unloaded sole in young subjects. Results indicated that while similar types of cutaneous receptors exist in the sole of the foot and hand, there appear to be differences in receptor density and distribution. Our results demonstrate that cutaneous afferent inputs from the foot sole provide useful information for the control of posture and locomotion.


Experimental Brain Research Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation Glabrous Skin Cutaneous Afferents Receptive Field Size 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Timothy Inglis
  • Paul M. Kennedy
  • Cari Wells
  • Romeo Chua
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Human KineticsThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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