Quantitative Analysis of the Limits of Stability in Sitting

Preuss, Richard A.; Popovic, Milos R.
August 2010
Journal of Applied Biomechanics;Aug2010, Vol. 26 Issue 3, p265
Academic Journal
This study defines the limits of stability in sitting, and quantitatively assesses two measures of postural control relative to these limits. Young, healthy subjects sat, feet unsupported, on an elevated force plate. The limits of stability were determined by a least square fit of an ellipse to the center of pressure (CoP) excursion during maximal leaning in 8 directions. These were highly symmetrical and centered within the base of support. The ellipses had a mean eccentricity of 0.66 (major axis in the sagittal plane) and covered an area approx. 1/3 of the base of support. The CoP was then monitored over 4 min of quiet sitting, during which the postural sway covered an area <0.05% of the limits of stability and was closely centered within the latter. Finally, targetdirected trunk movements were performed, in 5 directions, at 4 movement speeds and 3 target distances. Increased target distance and movement speed both decreased the margin of stability (distance between the CoP and the limits of stability), as did movement in the frontal plane, reflecting the eccentricity of the limits of stability. These combined findings support the validity of this quantitative method of defining the limits of stability in sitting, for healthy individuals.


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