Although sophisticated forceplate systems are available for postural stability analyses, their use is limited in many sports medicine settings because of budgetary constraints. The purpose of this investigation was to compare a clinical method of evaluating postural stability with a force-platform sway measure. Participants completed a battery of three stance variations (double, single, and tandem) on two different surfaces (firm and foam) while standing on a force platform. This arrangement allowed for simultaneous comparisons between forceplate sway measures and clinical assessments using the Balance Error Scoring System (BESS). Significant correlations were revealed for the single-leg and tandem stances on the firm surface and for double, single, and tandem stances on the foam surface. These results suggest that the BESS is a reliable method of assessing postural stability in the absence of computerized balance systems.
Bryan L. Riemann is with the Sports Medicine Program at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261. Kevin M. Guskiewicz is with the Department of Physical Education, Exercise and Sport Science and the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8605. Edgar W. Shields is with the Department of Physical Education, Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.