Berg Balance Scale and Functional Reach: determining the best clinical tool for individuals post acute stroke

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To begin the process of determining the best clinical tool for measuring balance in individuals post stroke.


Prospective with descriptive and relational analyses.


Rehabilitation centres and stroke support group meetings.


Seventy-five subjects who had suffered a stroke were divided into four groups based on the Duncan classification for stroke severity.

Main outcome measures

The motor section of the Fugl-Meyer Assessment of Physical Performance was completed for each person to classify the motor deficit. Subjects performed Functional Reach twice with the nonparetic arm and the average was recorded. Subjects performed the Berg Balance Scale and the total score on the first attempt was recorded.


As motor impairment increased, balance ability declined and both the Functional Reach and Berg Balance Scale proved sensitive to this decline. Spearman rank correlation coefficient was excellent among the entire sample (r5 = 0.78).


Subjects' performance on the Berg Balance Scale was closely associated with performance on the Functional Reach. Therefore, the clinician may elect to use the shorter Functional Reach as a measure of balance where efficient use of time is the primary goal.

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