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Open Access Research

The validity of a portable clinical force plate in assessment of static postural control: concurrent validity study

Samira Golriz1*, Jeffrey J Hebert2, K Bo Foreman3 and Bruce F Walker2

Author Affiliations

1 School of Chiropractic and Sports Science, Murdoch University, 90 South Street, Murdoch, WA, 6150, Perth, Australia

2 School of Chiropractic and Sports Science, Murdoch University, Perth, WA, Australia

3 Department of Physical Therapy, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

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Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2012, 20:15  doi:10.1186/2045-709X-20-15

Published: 23 May 2012

Abstract

Background

The broad use of force plates in clinical settings for postural control assessment suggests the need for instruments that are easy to use, affordable and readily available. In addition, these instruments of measurement should be reliable and valid as adequate reliability and validity are prerequisites to making correct inferences. The aim of this study was to examine the concurrent validity of postural control measures obtained with a clinical force plate.

Methods

Thirty-one healthy adults were recruited. Participants completed 1 set of 5 trials on each force plate. Postural control measures (centre of pressure [COP] average velocity and sway area) were collected and compared using the Midot Posture Scale Analyzer (clinical force plate) and the Accugait force plate (criterion measure). Intra class correlation coefficient (ICC), standard error of measurement , and paired t-tests were calculated and Bland-Altman plots were constructed to compare the force plates and assess consistency of measurement and agreement between them.

Results

The ICC values (ICC = 0.14-0.60) between the two force plates were lower than the acceptable value for both COP average velocity and sway area. There was significant difference (p > 0.05) in COP average velocity and sway area between the force plates. Examination of the plots revealed that there is less difference between the force plates in lower magnitudes of COP for average velocity and sway area however, the greater the average velocity and sway area, the greater the difference between the measures obtained from the two force plates.

Conclusion

Findings of this study showed poor concurrent validity of the clinical force plate. This clinical force plate cannot be a replacement for known reliable and valid force plates and consequently measures obtained from this force plate should be treated with caution especially in a clinical population.

Keywords:
Concurrent validity; Force plate; Postural control