Measuring the Reliability of Postural Sway Measurements for a Static Standing Task: The Effect of Age

Posted on 13.05.2022 - 15:40

Background: A force plate is used to determine the ability to balance ability. However, only some medical centers or laboratories are equipped with force plates because they are costly so a low-cost force plate is required for home care or health care institutes. Few studies compare the reliability of postural sway measurements in terms of age. This study proposes a low-cost force plate to select reliable parameters to evaluate postural sway.

Objectives: To determine the intra-rater reliability of a novel force plate and the effect of age difference on the intra-rater test-retest reliability for the center of pressure (COP).

Methods: Forty participants were enrolled for this study: 20 youths and 20 older adults. Participants stood on a custom-made and low-cost force plate with eyes opened and eyes closed to measure COP-related parameters. The within-day test-retest reliability was measured at two sessions on the same day and the between-days reliability was measured on two different days. The COP-related parameters include the average velocity of COP, the average velocity in the antero-posterior and medio-lateral directions, the mean distance of COP and the mean distance in the antero-posterior and medio-lateral directions. An intra-class correlation coefficient test with one-way random model was performed to determine the reliability of different variables within-days and between-days. The results were presented in single measurement of intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), the standard error of measurements, and the minimal detectable changes of each COP-related parameters.

Results: The novel low-cost force plate demonstrates excellent reliability in terms of the COP velocity related parameters for within- and between-day measurements. The ICC of COP distance related parameters were good to excellent reliability for between-day measurements (range: 0.43–0.84). Older adults demonstrated excellent reliability in terms of the mean distance for antero-posterior and the results were better than those for younger participants for the eyes-opened and eyes-closed conditions. The reliability in terms of the mean distance for medio-lateral was poor to good for older adults (range: 0.38–0.55), and excellent for younger participants.

Conclusion: The novel and low-cost force plate reliably measured balance and age affects the reliability of different COP variables, so the results of this study were pertinent to the selection of COP measures.


Lo, Pei-Yi; Su, Bo-Lin; You, Yu-Lin; Yen, Chen-Wen; Wang, Shih-Ting; Guo, Lan-Yuen (2022): Measuring the Reliability of Postural Sway Measurements for a Static Standing Task: The Effect of Age. Frontiers. Collection.
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