Repeated single-limb postural stability testing elicits a practice effect

Phys Ther Sport. 2006 Nov;7(4):185-90. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2006.06.002. Epub 2006 Oct 10.


Objective: To document the effects of repeated testing on the single-leg stance balance task.

Design: Single cohort repeated measures.

Setting: Laboratory in an educational institution.

Subjects: Thirty-two healthy males and females.

Outcome measure: The number of errors (deviations from the required posture) during each 20-s trial summed over the eight conditions recorded on six occasions.

Results: There was a statistically significant (p=.0013) decrease in the number of errors recorded over the six sessions, from 26.8 (95% CI: 23.1-30.5) to 19.7 (95% CI: 16.3-23.1). Linear regression confirmed a systematic decrease of 1.5 errors per session on average (95% CI: 1.0-1.9; p<.0001).

Conclusion: The decreased number of errors (increased performance) with repeated testing alerts clinicians to the need for care when using this test protocol to measure rehabilitation interventions.