The Effect of Boundary Shape and Minima Selection on Single Limb Stance Postural Stability

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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The effect of time-to-boundary minima selection and stability limit definition was investigated during eyes open and eyes closed condition single-limb stance postural stability. Anteroposterior and mediolateral time-to-boundary were computed using the mean and standard deviation (SD) of all time-to-boundary minima during a trial, and the mean and SD of only the 10 absolute time-to-boundary minima. Time-to-boundary with rectangular, trapezoidal, and multisegmented polygon defined stability limits were also calculated. Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient test results revealed significant medium-large correlations between anteroposterior and mediolateral time-to-boundary scores calculated using both the mean and SD of the 10 absolute time-to-boundary minima and of all the time-to-boundary minima. Friedman test results revealed significant mediolateral time-to-boundary differences between boundary shape definitions. Follow-up Wilcoxon signed rank test results revealed significant differences between the rectangular boundary shape and both the trapezoidal and multisegmented polygon shapes during the eyes open and eyes closed conditions when both the mean and the SD of the time-to-boundary minima were used to represent postural stability. Significant differences were also revealed between the trapezoidal and multisegmented polygon definitions during the eyes open condition when the SD of the time-to-boundary minima was used to represent postural stability. Based on these findings, the overall results (i.e., stable versus unstable participants or groups) of studies computing postural stability using different minima selection can be compared. With respect to boundary shape, the trapezoid or multisegmented polygon shapes may be more appropriate than the rectangular shape as they more closely represent the anatomical shape of the stance foot.

Stephen C. Cobb (Corresponding Author), Mukta N. Joshi, David M. Bazett-Jones, and Jennifer E. Earl-Boehm are with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI.