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Learning effect and repeatability of stabilometric measurements: “standard” vs. usual foot placement

M. Conti, D. Tonlorenzi, M. Brunelli, G. Traina


The existence of a learning effect by which subjects progressively reduce body sway over the course of repetitive stabilometric measurements is currently debated. Also, the position and orientation of the feet on the platform can have a substantial influence on the outcome measurements. The aim of the present work was to assess the effect of feet positions on mean total velocity (V) of the center of pressure and the area (AR) covered by its displacements during quiet standing. A group of 35 healthy young subjects was examined during two successive sessions consisting of five recordings with their feet placed either in the recommended (standard, SP) or their usual most comfortable (UP) position. Results show a slight decreasing trend that failed to be statistically significant checked with Friedman’s ANOVA (SP AR, χ2(4)=6.10, p=0.19 and V, χ2(4)=8.66, p=0.07 and UP AR, χ2(4)=2.32, p=0.68 and V, χ2(4)=1.19, p=0.88). Nonetheless, values of AR and V showed a notable decrement especially evident in the SP exam reaching, respectively, 24% and 11% from baseline, whereas variability measured by the coefficient of variation was the same in the two exams. Given the results, a learning effect should not be ruled out with confidence. Also, usual foot placement would be preferable to avoid this effect. Further research is needed to take into consideration the great variability of stabilometric measurements and the fact that different subjects could adapt more readily to the test conditions than others.


Posture; Stabilometric platform; Centre of pressure; Test-retest reliability; Foot placement; Learning effect.

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