The Y balance test

Y balance test

This post is prepared by West 4th associate Jen Macpherson … 

Past injury is the biggest predictor of getting injured again. Having asymmetry from one side to the other is also a flag for risk of reinjury. Grey Cook who pioneered FMS (Functional Movement System) regards this Y balance test as a sensitive, reliable gauge for dysfunction and has integrated it into the FMS system. The real beauty of the test is taking a test score, analysing the problem, implementing a treatment plan to improve the deficit and seeing a real change in the Y balance score. That way the test gives objective feedback to the patient and therapist that the treatment is work. Improvements in Y balance test scores translates into lower risk of reinjury when returning to sport or daily activities.

An example would be someone with an old right ankle sprain. They may have decreased ankle mobility along with decreased proprioception (sense of the joint position in space), decreased strength around the ankle and a poorly timed core particularly when loading that side. The lower quarter test may reveal a decreased total score on that side but also a greater than 4 cm difference in the score from right to left. Once the ankle motion and strength has been improved through physiotherapy treatment and a clear-cut home exercise program, they will have a better total composite score on the injured side and more symmetry between sides. After doing the hard work it is great for a person to see and feel their ability to do the test has improved. From a therapist’s perspective, it is great to know you are sending them back onto the tennis court or back to the walking club with a decreased risk of reinjuring the ankle.

. The test is a great way of looking at mobility and stability near a person’s limit and magnifying a deficit. It is therefore a sensitive functional gauge for improvement. It is easy to administer and only takes about 15 minutes. The therapists at West Fourth Physiotherapy are trained in using this tool.

The y balance test is a straight forward, reproducible tool that can be used as part of a rehabilitation program which gives objective, sensitive feedback about dynamic balance and function.

Jen-MacphersonJennifer MacPherson

Jen Macpherson is an experienced sports physiotherapist, bike fitter and cyclist. Jen Macpherson Bio

West 4th Physio believes healthy communities are ones that move. We financially support local clubs and initiatives that promote active lifestyles. Our current sponsorships include: Glotman Simpson Cycling Club , WOW CyclingMeralomas Rugby ClubArts Umbrella Dance,  Lotus Cycling

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