Single-Limb-Balance Difficulty on 4 Commonly Used Rehabilitation Devices

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context:

Balance training is widely used by rehabilitation professionals and has been shown to be effective at reducing risk of injury, as well as improving function after injury. However, objective evidence for the difficulty of commonly available equipment is lacking.

Objective:

To assess center-of-pressure (COP) area and average sway velocity in healthy subjects while performing a single-limb stance on 4 commonly available rehabilitation devices to determine their level of difficulty.

Design:

Single-session, randomized, repeated-measures design to assess COP area and average sway velocity while performing a single-limb stance on 4 devices positioned on a force platform.

Setting:

University laboratory.

Subjects:

A convenience sample of 57 healthy college-age subjects.

Intervention:

Each participant balanced on the dominant limb in a nonshod single-limb stance with eyes open for 20 s during 4 conditions. The 4 conditions were randomized and included the Both Sides Up (BOSU) trainer, Airex balance pad, half-foam roller, and DynaDisc.

Main Outcome Measure:

Means and standard deviations were calculated for maximum displacement in each direction. In addition, the means and standard deviations for COP area and average sway velocity were calculated for the 4 conditions and compared using a 1-way repeated-measure ANOVA.

Results:

Significant differences were found for both COP area and average sway velocity between the BOSU trainer and the other 3 devices. A significant difference was also found between the DynaDisc and the half-foam roller.

Conclusions:

Level of difficulty, as measured by COP area and average sway velocity, is different for commonly available rehabilitation equipment. Clinicians may find these results a useful guide when progressing patients through balance training.

Stanek and Meyer are with the School of Kinesiology and Recreation, Illinois State University, Normal, IL. Lynall is with the Dept of Allied Health Sciences, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.