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The Quick Step measures reaction time and lateral stepping velocity. Upon a visual cue, participants step to the side as quickly as possible. Instrumentation includes floor pads with pressure-sensitive switches and two timers. In all, 109 older adults who had experienced a recent fall, 46 older adult nonfallers, and 24 young adults volunteered for testing. Reliability for reaction time and stepping velocity was good to excellent (intraclass correlation = 0.69–0.85). Multivariate analysis of variance revealed a significant difference between groups, p < 0.01, but not between stepping directions, p = 0.62–0.72, for both reaction time and stepping velocity. Reaction times were different among the three groups, p < 0.01, with the young adults having the fastest times and the older adult fallers having the slowest times. Lateral stepping velocity was faster among the young adults than for the two older groups, p < 0.01, but did not differ between the older adults, p = 0.29. It is concluded that the Quick Step is a simple and reliable tool for determining reaction time and lateral stepping velocity, and that this test can be used to detect a significant difference in reaction time between older adult fallers and nonfallers.
The authors are with the Bone Research Lab, Oregon State Univ., 13 Women’s Bldg, Corvallis, OR 97331-6802; W.C. Hayes is also with the Orthopaedic Biomechanics Lab, Oregon Health Sciences Univ., 3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Rd L-477, Portland, OR 97201.