Age related changes in balance performance during self-selected and narrow stance testing

Bryan L. Riemann, Monica Lininger, Mary K. Kirkland, John Petrizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background Various balance tests have been considered as fall risk screening tools however there is a lot of variability in the methods and outcome measures reported. Based on previous research examining age-related changes in balance and differences between fallers and nonfallers, the purpose of this investigation was to examine age-related balance changes, as reflected in medial-lateral center of pressure (CP) velocity, in community-dwelling/independently living adults (≥60 years) during self-selected and narrow stance testing with eyes opened and closed. Methods Two hundred and thirty adults aged 60 yrs or older completed one 45 s trial under two stances (self-selected, narrow) and two visual conditions (eyes opened, eyes closed). Average medial-lateral CP velocity was computed from the CP data, with preliminary analysis demonstrating positive skewness and association with body height. A sway velocity index (SVI) was created by a natural logarithm transformation and dividing by body height. Multiple linear regression was used to determine the association between age, visual condition, stance, and sex with SVI. Results Age, visual condition, stance and sex were all demonstrated to be significant predictors of SVI, with the combination of the predictors explaining 25% of the variance in the SVI. Conclusions These results confirm the balance testing protocol and SVI to be sensitive to age-related changes in balance performance. The results of this study should help future research aimed towards establishing a quick, easy to administer, and readily interpretable instrumented test for assisting with identifying potential balance impairments in older adults who have yet to demonstrate outward deficits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-69
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of gerontology and geriatrics
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Aging
  • Center of pressure
  • Posturography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Aging
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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