Static Tests and Balance

When I’m teaching many clinicians say “I assess balance by XX test” and find its normal. But my patients still struggle to perform XX activity. This article demonstrates the need for clinical tests to be task specific. Read it through and see how it changes your clinical practice.

Relationship between static and dynamic balance abilities in Italian professional and youth league soccer players

Massimiliano, Pao, et al 2015

Abstract: To assess the existence of correlations between static and dynamic balance abilities in young and professional elite soccer players.

Design: Cross sectional.

Subjects: Fifty-one elite players who regularly compete at national level divided into two groups: Professional (age 18–34, n = 20) and Under 15–17 (age 14–16, n = 31).

Main outcome measures: Dynamic balance was assessed for the case of a single-leg landing task by means of vertical time to stabilization (TTS) and postural sway calculated on the basis of center-of-pressure (COP) trajectories.

Results: No significant correlations were found between static and dynamic balance parameters except for TTS and COP displacements in the antero-posterior direction (r = 0.29, p = 0.003).

Conclusions: The assessment of balance in soccer players should be performed with both dynamic and static tests, considering that the postural control performances in the two cases are not related.

This article develops the idea that clinical tests should be specific to the functional task needing to be assessed. If clinicians want to analyse static balance (possibly relevant to gymnasts, sailors and roofers) then uses a static test. If a clinician wants to assess moving balance (e.g. football, runners and climbers) then use a more dynamic balance test. This article is another for the “task specific” approach to clinical test selection.