C Garcia
RZ Amick


Chelsea Garcia1, Ryan Z. Amick1

1Wichita State University, Wichita, KS

Balance is a multi-dimensional process requiring the integration visual, vestibular, and somatosensory information to maintain one’s center of mass over their base of support. The ability to maintain balance is critical for the performance of all levels of activity ranging from activities of daily living, to high intensity exercise. However, the onset of muscular fatigue with performance of high intensity exercise may impact balance performance. PURPOSE: To determine the effects of lower extremity muscular fatigue on balance performance using the SWAY Mobile Balance Application. METHODS: The SWAY Mobile Balance Application protocol uses a series of five stances to evaluate balance while holding a smartphone against the mid-sternum. Stances include bipedal, tandem right leg in front, tandem left leg in front, single leg on left leg, and single leg on right leg. All stances are performed for 30 seconds, with shoes on and eyes closed. Upon completion of the protocol a composite score (0-100), the SWAY Balance Score, is produced where a higher score indicates better balance. A total of 19 subjects (10 female, 9 male; aged 27.89±8.86 years) completed this study. Subjects were instructed on the testing procedures and signed an informed consent before testing began. All participants first performed a familiarization trial, followed by two experimental trials. The first experimental trial was performed to assess baseline balance performance. Upon completion, subjects performed a fatiguing exercise consisting of 20 jumping burpees (no pushup). Subjects then performed a second trial of the SWAY protocol. RESULTS: Mean baseline balance scores were 76.56±11.28. Mean balance scores with fatigue were 70.21±10.81. A Paired Samples T-test revealed a significant difference between mean baseline balance scores, and mean balance scores after performing fatiguing exercise; t(18) = 3.23, p<0.001. CONCLUSION: The results of this study indicate that acute lower extremity muscular fatigue may result in a significant decline in balance performance. These findings may be of value to clinicians, such as Athletic Trainers, who regularly evaluate balance performance in athletes. Knowledge of the individual’s lower extremity fatigue state may be an important consideration when interpreting balance performance results.

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