Standing Versus Stepping - Exploring the Relationships Between Postural Steadiness and Dynamic Reactive Balance Control

Michelle R Tanel, Tyler B Weaver, Andrew C Laing
Journal of Applied Biomechanics 2018 July 10, : 1-29
While the literature has characterized balance control during quasi-static and/or dynamic tasks, comparatively few studies have examined relationships across paradigms. This study investigated whether quiet-stance postural steadiness metrics were associated with reactive control parameters (during both stepping and restabilisation phases) following a lean-and-release perturbation. Forty older adults participated. Postural steadiness (centre of pressure range, root mean square, velocity, and frequency) was evaluated in 'feet together' and 'tandem stance' positions. During the reactive control trials, step length, step width, movement time and reaction time were measured, in addition to the postural steadiness variables measured during the restabilisation phase following the stepping response. Out of 64 comparisons, only ten moderate correlations were observed between postural steadiness and reactive spatio-temporal stepping parameters (p≤0.05, r=-.312 to -.534). However, postural steadiness metrics were associated with centre of pressure velocity and frequency during the restabilisation phase of the reactive control trials (p≤0.015, r= 0.383 to 775 for velocity; p≤0.014, r= 0.386 to 0.550 for frequency). Although some elements of quasi-static centre of pressure control demonstrated moderate associations with dynamic stepping responses, relationships were stronger for restabilisation phase dynamics after foot-contact. Future work should examine the potential association between restabilisation phase control and older adult fall-risk.


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