Science In Brief

Chiropractic Litterature Review

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The Study: The single-leg-stance test in Parkinson's disease. (1)

The Facts:

  1. Determining how long a person can stand on one leg has been used in the evaluation of elderly patients.
  2. In Parkinson patients, being capable of standing on one leg for around 10 seconds or less appears to be an indicator that the patient is at risk for falls.
  3. They looked at 27 patients who had Parkinson's disease.
  4. The mean age was 67.1 years.
  5. The patients kept their eyes open and were timed standing on one leg. Each leg was tested three times unless the patient was able to stand perfectly on each leg for 60 seconds on the first two trials. In those cases the test was terminated after standing on each leg twice.
  6. It was concluded that those who had standing times of approximately 10 seconds or less "had reached a clinically important stage of disease progression with significant worsening of postural stability..."

Take Home:
Those who can stand on one leg for 10 seconds or less have a "significant worsening of postural stability..." and are at a greater risk of falls.

Reviewer's Comments:
It appears that if you can stand on one leg with eyes open for 60 seconds and do it perfectly on each leg for two times in a row that's pretty good. But as the times decrease and we approach the 10 second mark, that's a significant reason for concern. It would appear this test might provide a quick and simple assessment tool to determine disease progress in Parkinson's patients.

Reviewer: Roger Coleman DC

Editor: Mark R. Payne DC
Editor's Comments: Just as a side note, leg tremors during both bilateral and single leg standing have also been associated with early Parkinson's. Presence of rapid or low frequency leg tremors during the test described above should also alert the practitioner as a possible harbinger of neurological dysfunction. (2)

References:

1. Chomiak T, Pereira FV, Hu B. The single-leg-stance test in Parkinson's disease. J Clin Med Res. 2015;3:182-5.

Link to Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25584104

2. Suk Yun Kang,a,b Sook-Keun Song,a Jin-Soo Kim,a and Young Ho SohnaUnilateral Standing Leg Tremor as the Initial Manifestation of Parkinson DiseaseJ Mov Disord. 2009 May; 2(1): 29-32.

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