While the literature has characterized balance control during quasi-static and/or dynamic tasks, comparatively few studies have examined relationships across paradigms. This study investigated whether quiet-stance postural steadiness metrics were associated with reactive control parameters (during both stepping and restabilization phases) following a lean-and-release perturbation. A total of 40 older adults participated. Postural steadiness (center of the pressure range, root mean square, velocity, and frequency) was evaluated in “feet together” and “tandem stance” positions. During the reactive control trials, the step length, step width, movement time, and reaction time were measured, in addition to the postural steadiness variables measured during the restabilization phase following the stepping response. Out of 64 comparisons, only 10 moderate correlations were observed between postural steadiness and reactive spatio-temporal stepping parameters (P ≤ .05, r = −.312 to −.534). However, postural steadiness metrics were associated with the center of pressure velocity and frequency during the restabilization phase of the reactive control trials (P ≤ .02, r = .383 to .775 for velocity and P ≤ .01, r = .386 to .550 for frequency). Although some elements of quasi-static center of pressure control demonstrated moderate associations with dynamic stepping responses, relationships were stronger for restabilization phase dynamics after foot-contact. Future work should examine the potential association between restabilization phase control and older adult fall-risk.
Tanel, Weaver, and Laing are with Injury Biomechanics and Aging Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada.