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The manipulation of available sensory inputs is an important component in static posturography testing to examine one's multisensory reweighting ability and to identify potential balance problems that would otherwise be masked by compensation. Traditionally, to reduce the availability of proprioceptive input, subjects are asked to stand barefoot on a foam pad placed on top of the force platform. However, the choice of what kind of foam block to use often falls on the shoulders of the investigator or clinician as it is rarely well defined in testing procedures. While previous studies have investigated the effect of varying foam types on outcome measures, it has not been well investigated whether choice of foam influences the ability to differentiate between healthy and impaired populations using posturography. Anterior-posterior (A/P) and medial-lateral center of pressure displacement data was collected using a 3-component force plate. Each trial lasted 30 seconds with a sampling rate of 1000Hz. For this protocol, a form of the modified clinical test for sensory integration of balance (mCTSIB) was used where a total of six trials were completed in randomized order. As expected, the surface did make a difference for all outcome measures (p>=0.001 for all). It was found that for Mean Velocity there was a statistically significant interaction (0.037), and for A/P Sway Range the p-value also approached significance (0.055). Post-hoc analysis for Mean Velocity revealed between-subject factor of disease was significant in each of the surface conditions, suggesting that while the values may be drastically different there is not currently compelling findings that the choice of foam better improves the ability to discriminate between disease states. As such, until standardization can be reached it does not appear to matter whether open-cell or closed-cell foam is used, but characteristics of the foam are important to report to allow study comparison.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Kimberly E. Bigelow

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stander Symposium poster

The Effect of Different Foams on Posturography Measures in Healthy and Impaired Populations