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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 561243, 9 pages
Research Article

Strength, Multijoint Coordination, and Sensorimotor Processing Are Independent Contributors to Overall Balance Ability

1Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
2Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA

Received 14 January 2015; Accepted 25 October 2015

Academic Editor: Akito Tanoue

Copyright © 2015 Emily L. Lawrence et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


For young adults, balance is essential for participation in physical activities but is often disrupted following lower extremity injury. Clinical outcome measures such as single limb balance (SLB), Y-balance (YBT), and the single limb hop and balance (SLHB) tests are commonly used to quantify balance ability following injury. Given the varying demands across tasks, it is likely that such outcome measures provide useful, although task-specific, information. But the extent to which they are independent and contribute to understanding the multiple contributors to balance is not clear. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the associations among these measures as they relate to the different contributors to balance. Thirty-seven recreationally active young adults completed measures including Vertical Jump, YBT, SLB, SLHB, and the new Lower Extremity Dexterity test. Principal components analysis revealed that these outcome measures could be thought of as quantifying the strength, multijoint coordination, and sensorimotor processing contributors to balance. Our results challenge the practice of using a single outcome measure to quantify the naturally multidimensional mechanisms for everyday functions such as balance. This multidimensional approach to, and interpretation of, multiple contributors to balance may lead to more effective, specialized training and rehabilitation regimens.