Assessment of postural stability using inertial measurement unit on inclined surfaces in healthy adults

Chris Frames, Rahul Soangra, Thurmon E. Lockhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Fatal and nonfatal falls in the construction domain remain a significant issue in today's workforce. The roofing industry in particular, annually ranks amongst the highest in all industries. Exposure to an inclined surface, such as an inclined roof surface, has been reported to have adverse effects on postural stability. The purpose of this preliminary study was to investigate the intra-individual differences in stability parameters on both inclined and level surfaces. Postural Stability (PS) and Limit of Stability (LOS) were assessed in seven healthy subjects (aged 25-35 years) on inclined and level surfaces using embedded force plates and an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). Four 90-second trials were collected on the inclined surface in distinctive positions: (1) Toes raised 20° above heel; (2) Heels raised 20° above toes (3); Transverse direction with dominant foot inverted at a lower height; (4) Transverse direction with non-dominant foot inverted at a lower height. Limit of Stability was evaluated by the two measurement devices in all four directions and margin of safety was quantified for each individual on both surfaces. The results reveal significant differences in postural stability between the flat surface condition and the inclined surface condition when subject was positioned perpendicular to the surface slope with one foot descended below the other; specifically, a significant increase was identified when visual support was interrupted. The findings lend support to the literature and will assist in future research regarding early detection of postural imbalance and preventative measures to reduce fall risks in professions where workers are consistently exposed to inclined surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-242
Number of pages9
JournalBiomedical Sciences Instrumentation
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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