Summary of background data: The analysis of centre of pressure (COP) excursions is used as an index of postural stability in standing. Conflicting data have been reported over the past 20 years regarding the reliability of COP measures and no standard procedure for COP measure use in study design has been established.
Search methods: Six online databases (January 1980 to February 2009) were systematically searched followed by a manual search of retrieved papers.
Results: Thirty-two papers met the inclusion criteria. The majority of the papers (26/32, 81.3%) demonstrated acceptable reliability. While COP mean velocity (mVel) demonstrated variable but generally good reliability throughout the different studies (r=0.32-0.94), no single measurement of COP appeared significantly more reliable than the others. Regarding data acquisition duration, a minimum of 90 s is required to reach acceptable reliability for most COP parameters. This review further suggests that while eyes closed readings may show slightly higher reliability coefficients, both eyes open and closed setups allow acceptable readings under the described conditions (r ≥ 0.75). Also averaging the results of three to five repetitions on firm surface is necessary to obtain acceptable reliability. A sampling frequency of 100 Hz with a cut-off frequency of 10 Hz is also recommended. No final conclusion regarding the feet position could be reached.
Conclusions: The studies reviewed show that bipedal static COP measures may be used as a reliable tool for investigating general postural stability and balance performance under specific conditions. Recommendations for maximizing the reliability of COP data are provided.
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