Date of Award
Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)
Balance is a skill that is essential for most activities of daily living (ADL) including participation in any athletic activity, whether competitive or recreational. When assessing balance, it is very important to have normal balance baselines in order to serve as a guideline for comparison, especially when returning an athlete to competition. Additionally, given the importance of balance in athletics, it would seem important to determine if people with normal balance can improve their balance in order to enhance performance and decrease the risk of injury during sports.
The purpose of this study was to establish balance baselines on the Neurocom® Balance Master (NBM®) for relatively active young adults with normal balance and determine if these individuals could improve their balance with a five-week balance training program. The study consisted of 17 young adults who met the criteria established for "normal" including no history of injury or disease known to affect balance. All subjects were tested for unilateral stance and limits of stability (LOS) on the NBM® twice with a five-week interval between assessments. The study consisted of two balance training groups and one control group. Between assessments, one training group participated in traditional balance training exercises (N=7), while another group performed the same exercises utilizing the Bodyblade® (N=4) in order to challenge balance. The control group (N=6) was asked not to start any new strengthening or balance training exercises between assessments.
When compared to previous studies that developed normal balance baselines for young adults on the NBM®, subjects in this study showed a significantly greater sway velocity during unilateral stance with eyes open, while there was ~o significant difference in sway velocity during unilateral stance with eyes closed. The baselines established for LOS in this study demonstrated a significantly faster movement velocity backwards, but there was no significant difference between any of the other four components of LOS in any direction.
After training, the Bodyblade® training group improved significantly more than the control group in unilateral stance with eyes open, while the traditional balance training group improved significantly more than the Bodyblade® group in LOS endpoint excursion. After close examination, it was determined that these results could be misleading since the difference between groups appeared to come from one group getting significantly better and another group getting moderately, but not significantly, worse.
Dingmann, Steve, "The Effects of Balance Training in Normal Young Adults as Assessed by the Neurocom Balance Master" (2000). Physical Therapy Scholarly Projects. 117.