Assessment of balance control in humans

Med Prog Technol. 1990 May;16(1-2):31-51.


Balance and posture of the body is essential to most human locomotion. Because humans are bipeds with about 2/3 of their mass located 2/3 of body height from the ground the control system is critical. In the elderly balance control degenerates. Falls represent a major health problem and the fear of falls is the major deterrent to daily mobility. Many measures have evolved to assess balance, varying from crude balance tasks to sophisticated perturbations. This paper summarizes the balance control task as it relates to standing and walking and details current assessment techniques and equipment. Additional information is provided by the authors to demonstrate from an electromyographical and biomechanical perspective the mechanisms and characteristics of the postural control system in both standing and walking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Gait / physiology
  • Humans
  • Joints / physiology
  • Leg / physiology
  • Locomotion / physiology
  • Movement / physiology
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*