Standing balance assessment in ASIA D paraplegic and tetraplegic participants: concurrent validity of the Berg Balance Scale

Spinal Cord. 2010 Mar;48(3):245-50. doi: 10.1038/sc.2009.119. Epub 2009 Sep 22.


Study designs: Longitudinal and correlational study with repeated measures.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to test the concurrent validity of the Berg Balance Scale (BBS) for a spinal cord injury (SCI) population.

Participants: A total of 32 individuals with an ASIA D SCI walking 10 m independently, with or without walking assistive devices.

Setting: An intensive rehabilitation center in Montréal, Canada.

Methods: Subjects were evaluated on the BBS, the Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury (WISCI II), the Spinal Cord Injury Functional Ambulation Inventory (SCI-FAI), the 10-m walk test (10MWT) and the Timed Up and Go (TUG). Individuals were reassessed during rehabilitation when progressing to a device providing less support or to unassisted gait.

Results: All walking tests were highly correlated with the BBS (0.714<Rs<0.816, P<or=0.01). A significant ceiling effect was found on the BBS, the WISCI and on most subsections of the SCI-FAI. Assistive devices used for walking relate well to the BBS score (Spearman's rho 0.714, P<0.01).

Conclusion: The BBS is an appropriate assessment of standing balance for individuals with SCI. Complementary evaluation with the 10MWT or the 2MWT is recommended to supplement the ceiling effect on the BBS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobility Limitation
  • Paraplegia / physiopathology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Quadriplegia / physiopathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self-Help Devices
  • Walking / physiology
  • Young Adult