Age-related differences in time-limit performance and force platform-based balance measures during one-leg stance
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Poor posture control has been associated with an increased risk of falls and mobility disability among older adults. This study was conducted to assess the test-retest reliability and sensitivity to group differences regarding the time-limit (TLimit) of one-leg standing and selected balance parameters obtained with a force platform in older and young adults. A secondary purpose was to assess the relationship between TLimit and these balance parameters. Twenty-eight healthy older adults (age: 69±5years) and thirty young adults (age: 21±4years) participated in this study. Two one-leg stance tasks were performed: (1) three trials of 30s maximum and (2) one TLimit trial. The following balance parameters were computed: center of pressure area, RMS sway amplitude, and mean velocity and mean frequency in both the anterio-posterior and medio-lateral directions. All balance parameters obtained with the force platform as well as the TLimit variable were sensitive to differences in balance performance between older and young adults. The test-retest reliability of these measures was found to be acceptable (ICC: 0.40-0.85), with better ICC scores observed for mean velocity and mean frequency in the older group. Pearson correlations coefficients (r) between balance parameters and TLimit ranged from -0.16 to -0.54. These results add to the current literature that can be used in the development of measurement tools for evaluating balance in older and young adults. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.