An experimental paradigm to assess postural stabilization: No more movement and not yet posture

Marco Rabuffetti, Gabriele Bovi, Pier Luigi Quadri, Davide Cattaneo, Francesco Benvenuti, Maurizio Ferrarin

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A ground reaction based method is proposed to evaluate the hypothesis that a stabilization phase occurs in transitions towards erect posture, following the macroscopic movement and preceding the quiet final erect posture, whose aim is to control and dissipate the residual inertial unbalancing forces occurring at the transition end. The experimental protocol considers three tasks leading to the final erect posture: taking a step forward (F), sit-to-stand (S), and bending the trunk forward (B), The method mainly consists of the fitting of a negative exponential function on the instability time profile following the end of the transition movement. The model parameters Y0, T, and Y inf, respectively, quantify the initial instability rate, a time duration related to the stabilization, and the final asymptotic instability rate. Results from a sample of 40 adult able bodied subjects demonstrated that a postural stabilization phase actually occurs: Yinf is smaller (0.010, 0.010, and 0.008 m/s2 for, respectively, F, S, and B tasks) than Y0 (0.081, 0.137, and 0.057 m/s2). Tis in the order of seconds (0.95, 0.51, and 1.00 s). No trial with large values of both Y 0 and T was observed, evidencing that large initial instability rates are quickly controlled and reduced. The Y0 and T parameters distribution are discussed according to the possible underlying active and/or passive stabilization mechanisms. The test-retest reliability overall figure (mean ICC 0.45 for 12 indexes) increased, when dropping the indexes related to the less reliable B task, to values (mean ICC 0.56 for eight indexes) comparable to published posturographic data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5929566
Pages (from-to)420-426
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • Fall risk
  • ground reaction
  • human movement
  • motor control
  • posture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine(all)

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