The effect of foam surface properties on postural stability assessment while standing.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A common assessment of postural control often involves subjects standing on a compliant surface, such as a foam block, to make balance tests more challenging. However, the physical properties of the foam block used by different researchers can vary considerably. The objective of this study was to provide an initial approach for investigating whether two of the foam properties, i.e. density and elastic modulus, influenced recorded anteroposterior and lateral torque variance with eyes open and eyes closed. Thirty healthy adults (mean age 22.5 years) were assessed with posturography using three different types of foam block placed on a force platform. These blocks were categorised: firm foam, medium foam and soft foam by their elastic modulus. To investigate the spectral characteristics of recorded body movements, variance values were calculated for total movements, movements <0.1Hz and movements >0.1Hz. Results showed that anteroposterior and lateral torque variances >0.1Hz were larger when standing on the firm foam compared with medium and soft foam and in turn were larger on the medium foam compared with the soft foam with eyes closed. Moreover, GLM and correlation analysis demonstrated that the properties of the foam blocks affected anteroposterior torque variance >0.1Hz and lateral torque variance in all frequency ranges. In addition, the stabilising effect of vision in the anteroposterior direction had a greater influence when the subjects' stability was increasingly challenged by the support surface, as illustrated by the higher torque variance values. In conclusion, caution should be taken when analysing balance deficits with foam test setups, because the foam properties may influence the recorded body movements.


  • Mitesh Patel
  • P A Fransson
  • D Lush
  • S Gomez
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Otorhinolaryngology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-656
JournalGait & Posture
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch

Related research output

Mitesh Patel, 2009, Lund University: Faculty of Medicine. 146 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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