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Critical Reviews™ in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
SJR: 0.117 SNIP: 0.228 CiteScore™: 0.17

ISSN Imprimer: 0896-2960
ISSN En ligne: 2162-6553

Critical Reviews™ in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevPhysRehabilMed.v15.i34.10
40 pages

A Review of Clinical Balance Tools for Use With Elderly Populations

Anne Cowley
Mobility Centre, Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Kate Kerr
Division of Physiotherapy Education, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom


This article attempts to critically review the literature supporting the use of commonly used clinical balance tools. A number of tools have been developed over the past 15 years or so with the objective of measuring postural control in the clinic to identify postural deficits occurring because of both aging and pathological effects and some have been described as discriminating between fallers and nonfallers. Although a few studies examined reliability, validity and sensitivity of some of the tools in common use, others are not supported by rigorous studies. Claims that some tools can be used to predict future falls are debated in the literature with some authors suggesting that there is insufficient evidence to support a particular tool as the most appropriate. Because of the complexity of postural control, a task requiring constant adjustments, both for internal instability (such as upper limb tasks), or external perturbations (due to environmental situations), the quest for one clinical balance tool to measure this maybe inappropriate. This review briefly defines postural control, discusses tests commonly described in the literature, their validity and reliability and their usefulness and relevance to professionals. The review is broadly organized into static, dynamic, timed and subjective tests and highlights the need for more studies to determine validity and reliability to support use of these tools.

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