Validating Center-of-Pressure Balance Measurements Using the MatScan® Pressure Mat

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Measurements of center-of-pressure (COP) excursions during balance are common practice in clinical and research settings to evaluate adaptations in postural control due to pathological or environmental conditions. Traditionally measured using laboratory force plates, pressure-mat devices may be a suitable option for clinicians and scientist to measure COP excursions. Objective: Compare COP measures and changes during balance between MatScan® pressure mat and force plate. Design: Validation study. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: 30 healthy, young adults (19 female, 11 male, 22.7 ± 3.4 y, 70.3 ± SD kg, 1.71 ± 0.09 m). Main Outcomes: COP excursions were simultaneously measured using pressure-mat and force-plate devices. Participants completed 3 eyes-open and 3 eyes-closed single-leg balance trials (10 s). Mean of the 3 trials was used to calculate 4 COP variables: medial-lateral and anterior-posterior excursion, total distance, and area with eyes open and eyes closed. Percent change and effect sizes were calculated between eyes-open to eyes-closed conditions for each variable and for both devices. Results: All COP variables were highly correlated between devices for eyes-open and eyes-closed conditions (all r > .92, P < .001). Bland-Altman plots suggest the pressure-mat COP measurements were smaller than those of the force-plate, and the differences between devices appeared to increase as the measurement magnitude increased. Percent change in COP variables was highly correlated between devices (r > .85, P < .001). Cohen d effect sizes between eyes-open and eyes-closed were all large (d > 2.25) and similar in magnitude between devices. Conclusion: COP measures were correlated between devices, but values tended to be smaller using the pressure mat. The pressure mat and force plate detected comparable magnitude changes in COP measurements between eyes-open and eyes-closed. Pressure mats may provide a viable option for detecting large magnitude changes in postural control during short-duration testing.

Goetschius is with the Dept of Exercise Science & Athletic Training, Adrian College, Adrian, MI. Feger, Hertel, and Hart are with the Dept of Kinesiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.

Goetschius (jgoetschius@adrian.edu) is corresponding author.
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