Effect of fatigue on postural control

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jordan W. Stafford (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Christopher Rhea

Abstract: Postural control is a complex and dynamic process that is further complicated by ever changing individual characteristics and environmental factors. For example, even when attempting the simple task of standing still, the postural control system must adjust the body to account for internal (e.g., respiration) and external (e.g., gravity) perturbations. These postural adjustments can be more difficult if fatigue is present, which can delay the timing or reduce the magnitude of the postural adjustment. However, the extent to which fatigue influences postural control is not well understood. This is a challenge because balance tests are becoming more commonly adopted in the civilian and military athletic communities to characterize neuromotor control after head trauma or other neurological changes. Thus, there is a need to better understand how fatigue effects performance in a variety of postural control tasks in order to better interpret data from these balance tests. The purpose of this study was to measure postural control with objective balance assessments before and after a standardized fatigue protocol. It was hypothesized that (1) a decline in postural control would be observed immediately after the fatigue protocol, but would return to baseline levels after 9 minutes and (2) the magnitude of the immediate postural control decline would be associated with an individual’s level of perceived fatigue. Hypothesis one was partially supported, as the BtrackS Balance Test was affected acutely after fatigue, F(2.36,58.95)=6.07, p=.003, partial n2=.195, while AccWalker showed no changes after fatigue. For hypothesis two, the only significant association between the change in perceived fatigue and the change in postural control was between the NASA-TLX and AccWalker thigh flexion SD in the head shake condition, rs(25)=.492, p=.012. These findings will help clinicians working with civilian and military athletic communities select the test most appropriate for them based on their desired assessment characteristics (static or dynamic balance) and administration time relative to physical exertion. [This abstract has been edited to remove characters that will not display in this system. Please see the PDF for the full abstract.]

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Effect, Fatigue, Postural Control
Equilibrium (Physiology)

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