Timed stance performances reflect differences in age, prevalence of comorbidities, medication use, fall history and activity level: Early screening for balance loss is indicated

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To determine if 10-second trials of bilateral and one-legged stance measures detected balance loss and influence of known risk factors for falls in women aged 20–80 years.


456 healthy adult women attempted 10-second trials of bilateral stance (firm and foam surfaces) and one-legged stance, with eyes open (EO) and eyes closed (EC). Data for age, co-morbidities, medication use, fall history and activity level were compared for three categories of stability: (i) stable: all trials completed; (ii) unsteady: completed/failed one to two trials; and (iii) failed all trials.


Bilateral stance on foam (EC) and one-legged stance (EO) yielded low failure rates for women older than 50 years (up to 15% categorised as unsteady and 6% as unstable). Compared to stable women, the unsteady and unstable women were older (P < 0.001) reported more co-morbidities, using more medications (P < 0.001), more falls (P < 0.05) and less activity (P < 0.05).


Women older than 50 years who fail 10-second trials of bilateral stance (foam EC) and one-legged stance (EO) should be referred for education and fall prevention intervention.

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