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Jupil Ko, Erik Wikstrom, Yumeng Li, Michelle Weber and Cathleen N. Brown

Balance impairments are linked to an increased risk of injury in those with a history of a lateral ankle sprain and chronic ankle instability (CAI). 1 , 2 The Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) is one of the most common dynamic balance tests used to identify balance deficits in individuals with

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Eamon T. Campolettano, Gunnar Brolinson and Steven Rowson

nervous system. 13 , 14 In collegiate populations, short-term learning impairments and balance deficits have been observed even for nonconcussed players. 15 , 16 Following exposure to head impacts, the most commonly implemented balance testing protocol used by healthcare providers in the care of

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George Sofianidis, Anna-Maria Dimitriou and Vassilia Hatzitaki

Balance control during static and dynamic activities is an important element of daily function in old age. Degenerative changes that occur with aging result in reduced sensory perception of the environment and the body (vision, kinesthesia, labyrinth), reduced speed of information processing by the

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Aimee E. Roth, Michael G. Miller, Marc Ricard, Donna Ritenour and Brenda L. Chapman

Context:

It has been theorized that aquatic balance training differs from land balance training.

Objective:

To compare the effects of balance training in aquatic and land environments.

Design:

Between-groups, repeated-measures design.

Setting:

Biomechanics laboratory and pool.

Participants:

24 healthy subjects randomly assigned to aquatic (n = 8), land (n = 10), or control (n = 6) groups.

Intervention:

Four weeks of balance training.

Main Outcome Measures:

Balance was measured (pre, mid, post, follow-up). COP variables: radial area, y range, x range in single leg (SL), tandem (T), single leg foam (SLF), and tandem form (TF) stance.

Results:

A significant condition × time interaction for x range was found, with improvements for SL, SLF, and TF. Radial area improved, with post-test 1.01 ± .23 cm2 and follow-up 1.06 ± .18 cm2 significantly lower than pretest 1.18 ± .23 cm2. Y range significantly improved, with posttest (4.69 ± 1.02 cm2) lower than pretest (5.89 ± 1.26 cm2). The foam conditions (SLF & TF) were significantly different from non-foam conditions (SL & T) for all variables.

Conclusions:

Results of this study show that balance training can effectively be performed in both land and aquatic environments.

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Chung-Chao Liang, Qi-Xing Change, Yu-Chou Hung, Chizan-Chung Chen, Chun-Hsiang Lin, Yu-Chun Wei and Jia-Ching Chen

aging populations ( Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan, 2015 ). Evidence has suggested that physical performance and balance decline with age ( Auyeung, Lee, Leung, Kwok, & Woo, 2014 ; Ishizaki et al., 2011 ; Wang, Yeh, Wang, Wang, & Lin, 2011 ). Declining mobility and low levels of

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I-Chieh Lee, Yeou-Teh Liu and Karl M. Newell

We investigated the coordination of balance and propulsion processes in learning to ride a unicycle through a principal component analysis (PCA) of the nature and number of functional degrees of freedom (DOF) in the movement coordination patterns. Six participants practiced unicycle riding on an indoor track for 28 sessions over separate days. The movement time and performance outcomes were recorded for each trial and body segment kinematics were collected from the first and every succeeding 4th session. The first appearance of no-hand-support performance varied across participants from the 5th practice session to the 22nd session. The PCA showed that initially in practice the 39 kinematic time series could be represented by 6–9 components that were reduced over practice to 4–7 components. The loadings of the PCA that reflected balance and propulsion processes became more coupled as a function of successfully riding the unicycle. The findings support the proposition that learning to ride the unicycle is a process of making the system more controllable by coordinating balance and propulsion while mastering the redundant DOF.

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Christopher J. Hasson, Richard E.A. van Emmerik and Graham E. Caldwell

In this study, a comprehensive evaluation of static and dynamic balance abilities was performed in young and older adults and regression analysis was used to test whether age-related variations in individual ankle muscle mechanical properties could explain differences in balance performance. The mechanical properties included estimates of the maximal isometric force capability, force-length, force-velocity, and series elastic properties of the dorsiflexors and individual plantarflexor muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus). As expected, the older adults performed more poorly on most balance tasks. Muscular maximal isometric force, optimal fiber length, tendon slack length, and velocity-dependent force capabilities accounted for up to 60% of the age-related variation in performance on the static and dynamic balance tests. In general, the plantarflexors had a stronger predictive role than the dorsiflexors. Plantarflexor stiffness was strongly related to general balance performance, particularly in quiet stance; but this effect did not depend on age. Together, these results suggest that age-related differences in balance performance are explained in part by alterations in muscular mechanical properties.

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Christina Davlin-Pater

This study investigated the influence of visual cues and perceptual style on static and dynamic balance performance. Twenty-five field dependent (FD) and twenty-five field independent (FI) participants performed tests of static and dynamic balance under five different vision conditions. Balance performance was measured using the Biodex Balance System. The vision conditions included: eyes open with visual feedback (EOFB), without visual feedback (EOEC), viewing lines tilted 18° (EOTL), eyes open without any visual cues (EONC), and eyes closed (EC). All participants were more stable when visual cues were present. Results revealed no significant difference between the two groups on the static balance task in any of the vision conditions. A significant difference was found between the two groups on the dynamic balance task. In three of the vision conditions (EOFB, EOEC, EOTL), the FI group was found to be more stable than the FD group. Movement of the body required during a dynamic balance task generates vestibular and somatosensory information which FI individuals may be more efficient in translating into greater stability as compared with FD individuals.

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Lisa Custer, Kimberly S. Peer and Lauren Miller

Context:

Muscle fatigue and acute muscle soreness occur after exercise. Application of a local vibration intervention may reduce the consequences of fatigue and soreness.

Objective:

To examine the effects of a local vibration intervention after a bout of exercise on balance, power, and self-reported pain.

Design:

Single-blind crossover study.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Participants:

19 healthy, moderately active subjects.

Interventions:

After a 30-min bout of full-body exercise, subjects received either an active or a sham vibration intervention. The active vibration intervention was performed bilaterally over the muscle bellies of the triceps surae, quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteals. At least 1 wk later, subjects repeated the bout, receiving the other vibration intervention.

Main Outcome Measures:

Static balance, dynamic balance, power, and self-reported pain were measured at baseline, after the vibration intervention, and 24 h postexercise.

Results:

After the bout of exercise, subjects had reduced static and dynamic balance and increased self-reported pain regardless of vibration intervention. There were no differences between outcome measures between the active and sham vibration conditions.

Conclusions:

The local vibration intervention did not affect balance, power, or self-reported pain.

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Sevgi S. Subasi, Nihal Gelecek and Gazanfer Aksakoglu

Context:

There is limited information on the effects of different warm-up periods on proprioception and balance in the context of injury prevention.

Objective:

To determine the effects of warm-up exercises on knee proprioception and balance and to compare the effectiveness of warming up periods.

Design:

Pretest/posttest.

Setting:

Research laboratory.

Participants:

30 healthy subjects (19 women, 11 men; mean age 20.70 ± 0.99 years).

Interventions:

Exercise groups performed warm-up exercises (group 1, 5 minutes; group 2, 10 minutes). Joint Position Sense (JPS) was tested at 15°, 30°, and 60° knee flexion (KF) on a JPS device. Balance was measured using the Neurocom Balance Master System.

Main Outcome Measures:

JPS absolute error (AE) was measured at 15°, 30°, and 60° KF and postural control was measured.

Results:

After exercise, we found significant improvements for AE of JPSs of 30° right (R) KF, 15° left (L) KF, and 60° L KF in group 1. In group 2, AE of JPS values increased for all angles of both knees except 60° R KF. AE of JPS values of 15° R KF, 30° R KF, 15° L KF, 60° L KF were significantly different in group 2 compared with group 1. In balance measurements, there were significant improvements for standing on foam with eyes closed (EC) position, velocity and R-L unilateral stance EC in group 1. There were significant improvements for velocity, end point, maximum excursion, and L unilateral stance EC in group 2.

Conclusions:

Both warm-up periods have positive effects on knee proprioception and balance. The 10-minute warm-up exercise improved proprioception by a greater amount than the 5 minutes warm-up exercise.