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Physiother Can. 2010 Spring;62(2):133-40. doi: 10.3138/physio.62.2.133. Epub 2010 Apr 23.

Threshold Berg balance scale scores for gait-aid use in elderly subjects: a secondary analysis.

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Department of Rehabilitation Services, St. Boniface General Hospital, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.



To determine the threshold Berg Balance Scale (BBS) scores that discriminate among levels of gait-aid use in elderly subjects.


A secondary analysis of data combined from two projects was performed. Both projects determined BBS performance, self-selected gait speed, and gait-aid use in samples of community-dwelling, independently ambulant individuals older than 65 years of age. Receiver operating characteristic curves were used to identify BBS scores that optimized identification of individuals with different levels of ambulation.


Previously determined associations between BBS score and various indicators of ambulatory ability were reproduced with the combined data set. Threshold BBS scores were identified for ability to walk without an aid (≥49/56) and ability to walk without a four-wheeled walker (≥43/56). The percent agreement values for the identified threshold scores ranged from 51% to 87%.


Although some threshold BBS scores could be determined, the accuracies of the scores render them of limited use for guiding gait-aid prescription in individual clients.


balance; elderly; sensitivity; specificity; walking

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