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Performance of High School Adolescents on Functional Gait and Balance Measures

Alsalaheen, Bara A. PT, PhD; Whitney, Susan L. PT, PhD, ATC, FAPTA; Marchetti, Gregory F. PT, PhD; Furman, Joseph M. MD, PhD; Kontos, Anthony P. PhD; Collins, Michael W. PhD; Sparto, Patrick J. PT, PhD

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000037
Research Article

Purpose: To describe the performance of high school adolescents during common functional gait and balance measures used in vestibular physical therapy.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of 91 participants determined their performance on the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale, Dynamic Gait Index, Functional Gait Assessment, Timed “Up and Go” (TUG), Five Times Sit to Stand (FTSTS) test, tests of gait speed (GS), and the Balance Error Scoring System. In a subset of this sample, GS, TUG, and the FTSTS were repeated twice to examine test-retest reliability.

Results: The measures of GS, TUG, and FTSTS were normally distributed. The Activities-specific Balance Confidence, Dynamic Gait Index, and Functional Gait Assessment exhibited a ceiling effect. The timed measures exhibited moderate to good reliability.

Conclusions: These performance scores may provide end points for discharge from vestibular physical therapy. However, clinicians should be aware of the ceiling effect exhibited by some measures.

The performance scores on these gait and balance measures may provide end points for discharge from vestibular physical therapy.

Department of Physical Therapy (Dr Alsalaheen), University of Michigan—Flint, Flint, Michigan; Department of Physical Therapy (Drs Whitney, Furman, and Sparto), Department of Otolaryngology (Drs Whitney, Furman, and Sparto), and Department of Orthopedic Surgery (Drs Kontos and Collins), University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Department of Physical Therapy (Dr Marchetti), Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Department of Rehabilitation Sciences (Dr Whitney), King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Correspondence: Bara A. Alsalaheen, PT, PhD, Physical Therapy Department, University of Michigan–Flint, 2157 William S. White Bldg, 303 E. Kearsley Street, Flint, MI 48502 (

Grant support: The National Institutes of Health through Grants Number UL1 RR024153 and UL1TR000005 supported the project described.

Dr Alsalaheen was a doctoral student in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh when this study was completed.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and the Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association.