THE EFFECT OF 3D BALANCE TRAINING ON POSTURAL TASK PERFORMANCE ASSESSED BY CENTER OF PRESSURE METRICS

Open Access
Author:
Milas, Natalie Ann
Area of Honors:
Kinesiology
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Semyon Slobounov, Thesis Supervisor
  • Mary Jane De Souza, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Balance training
  • Center of pressure
  • Force platform
  • Visual feedback
  • Sway tests
  • Displacement
Abstract:
Postural stability and balance can be quantified by measuring the displacement of a person’s center of pressure (COP) using a force platform while having a subject perform body sway tests. The effectiveness of balance training programs can be assessed by comparing COP displacement during sway tests before and after training. The purpose of this study was to conduct a proof-of-concept study, develop a new “sitting-to-standing” transitional task protocol for an AMTI force platform, and prove a 3D balance training program can improve a healthy subject’s balance and postural stability. The primary outcome was the analysis of COP displacement among six different conditions (sitting-to-standing with both legs eyes opened, both legs eyes closed, left leg eyes open, right leg eyes open, left leg eyes closed, right leg eyes closed). While many studies exist using COP displacement to evaluate balance training, there are no studies that use a force platform for 3D balance training requiring visual feedback from the subject to control their own center of pressure. There are also no studies that perform sway tests having subjects begin the trial sitting. It was hypothesized that since this balance training required visual feedback, that improvement in balance would be seen in eyes-open stances rather than eyes-closed; and that since no single leg training is involved, more improvement would be seen in two-legged stances. Twenty healthy Penn State students were tested six times over the course of three weeks for 3D balance training where COP displacement was collected before and after training. The results showed improvement in all six conditions with statistically significant differences (p<0.05) among one-legged stances for eyes open and left-leg stances eyes closed. Two-legged stances with eyes open and eyes closed went from having significant differences (p<0.05) before training to minimal differences after training (p>0.05). The positive results of this study suggest that this 3D balance training program could be used as potential treatment on patients suffering balance disorders. More studies should be conducted to analyze the long term effects of this treatment and further develop the benefits of this device and training program.