Beaven, C. M., O’Donnel, S. L., & Hébert-Losier, K. (2018). Effect of footwear on Y-Balance Test performance & risk categorisation. In Sport and Exercise Science New Zealand Annual Conference (pp. 36–36). Dunedin.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12632
Introduction: The Y-Balance Test (YBT) assesses dynamic balance and screens for injury risk. However, there are inconsistent recommendations regarding footwear use during testing. Methods: Forty-two volunteers (26 females, 16 males) performed the YBT with their habitual athletic footwear and barefoot on both legs. In a single-legged stance, participants reached with the contralateral limb in the anterior, posteromedial, and posterolateral directions three times. Leg- length normalised composite scores (%) and anterior-reach differences (cm) were extracted and used to identify high-risk participants (i.e., anterior-reach difference ≥4 cm or composite score ≤94%). Results: Anterior, posteromedial, and anterior-reach difference measures were similar between conditions (P>0.05). Posterolateral (2.8±7.6 cm, P=0.001) and composite scores (93.4 vs 94.8%, P=0.018) were greater barefoot. The proportion of individuals at high-risk based on anterior- reach difference (odds ratio: 1.6, McNear test P =0.58) and composite scores (odds ratio: 2.2, P=0.21) was similar between conditions, although risk categorisation was inconsistent in 31 and 19% of cases, respectively. Discussion: Footwear altered the composite score such that the group average exceeded the high-risk threshold. While testing in athletic footwear may be more valid, researchers should be aware that risk categorisation is affected. Take home message: Care should be taken when comparing studies with different protocols.