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J Appl Biomech. 2018 Jul 10:1-23. doi: 10.1123/jab.2017-0322. [Epub ahead of print]

Reliability of Postural Sway Measures of Standing Balance Tasks.

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1 Department of Physical Therapy and Health Rehabilitation, Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Alkharj, Saudi Arabia.
2 Department of Physical Therapy, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
3 Department of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
4 Department of Physical Therapy, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
5 Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


The reliability of balance exercises performance in experimental and clinical studies has typically been confined to a small set of exercises. In order to advance the field of assessing balance exercise intensity, establishing the reliability of performance during a more diverse array of exercises should be undertaken. The purpose of this study was to investigate the test-retest reliability of postural sway produced during performance of 24 different balance tasks, and to evaluate the reliability of different measures of postural sway. Sixty-two healthy subjects between the ages of 18 and 85 years of age (50% female, mean age 55 ± 20 years) participated. Subjects were tested during two visits one week apart and performed two sets of the 24 randomized standing tasks per visit. The tasks consisted of combinations of the following factors: surface (firm and foam), vision (eyes open and eyes closed), stance (feet apart and semi-tandem), and head movement (no movement, yaw, and pitch). Angular position displacement, angular velocity, and linear acceleration postural sway in the pitch and roll planes was recorded via an inertial measurement unit. The postural sway measures demonstrated at fair to good test-retest reliability with few exceptions, and angular velocity measures demonstrated the greatest reliability. The between-visit reliability of two averaged trials was excellent for most tasks. The study indicates that performance of most balance tasks used as part of balance rehabilitation is reliable, and quantitative assessment could be used to document change.


intensity; posturography; prescription; rehabilitation

[Available on 2020-01-10]

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