To define the numerous center-of-pressure derivatives used in the assessment of postural control and discuss what value each might provide in the assessment of balance.
MEDLINE and SPORTDiscus were searched with the terms balance, postural control, postural sway, and center of pressure. The remaining citations were collected from references of similar papers. A total of 67 references were studied.
Understanding what is represented by each parameter used to assess postural control is crucial. At the present time the literature has failed to demonstrate how the variables reflect changes made by the postural-control system. Until it can be shown that the center of pressure and its derivatives actually reveal changes in the postural-control system, the value of using these measures to assess deficits in postural control is minimized.