Strength, Multijoint Coordination, and Sensorimotor Processing Are Independent Contributors to Overall Balance Ability.

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For young adults, balance is essential for participation in physical activities but is often disrupted following lower extremity injury. Clinical outcome measures such as single limb balance (SLB), Y-balance (YBT), and the single limb hop and balance (SLHB) tests are commonly used to quantify balance ability following injury. Given the varying demands across tasks, it is likely that such outcome measures provide useful, although task-specific, information. But the extent to which they are independent and contribute to understanding the multiple contributors to balance is not clear. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the associations among these measures as they relate to the different contributors to balance. Thirty-seven recreationally active young adults completed measures including Vertical Jump, YBT, SLB, SLHB, and the new Lower Extremity Dexterity test. Principal components analysis revealed that these outcome measures could be thought of as quantifying the strength, multijoint coordination, and sensorimotor processing contributors to balance. Our results challenge the practice of using a single outcome measure to quantify the naturally multidimensional mechanisms for everyday functions such as balance. This multidimensional approach to, and interpretation of, multiple contributors to balance may lead to more effective, specialized training and rehabilitation regimens.

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BioMed research international

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