BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:
Hip fracture is a common injury in older adults, with a high proportion of hip fractures affecting women. After a hip fracture, the recovery of the patient’s walking speed is very important; one of the key determinants of walking speed is balance. The Balance Evaluation Systems Test (BESTest), a clinical balance measure, categorizes balance into 6 postural control systems. However, the relationship between the walking speed level and the sections of the BESTest has not been explored for older women with hip fracture. Our objective was to establish section scores for the BESTest cutoff values for walking speed in older women with hip fracture.
This was an observational study involving 46 older women 65 years or older with hip fracture. The BESTest was administered to all participants upon their discharge from the hospital. Participants were divided into groups on the basis of their walking speed levels, and receiver operating characteristic curves were determined for each section of the BESTest. We calculated the cutoff value, area under the curve (AUC), sensitivity, and specificity of each.
Section IV-Stability in Gait showed the highest AUC (0.92) compared with the other sections, and the cutoff value determined for the fast and slow walker groups was 64.3% (sensitivity = 0.82, specificity = 0.83). The sections with moderate AUC (0.7-0.9) were I-Biomechanical Constraints (cutoff = 70.0%), III-Anticipatory Postural Adjustments (cutoff = 66.5%), IV-Postural Responses (cutoff = 69.4%), and V-Sensory Orientation (cutoff = 83.4%). The sections with the highest sensitivity (0.82) were I-Biomechanical Constraints and VI-Stability in Gait, and that with the highest specificity (0.88) was II-Stability Limits and Verticality.
Five of the BESTest sections (I-Biomechanical Constraints, III-Anticipatory Postural Adjustments, IV-Postural Responses, V-Sensory Orientation, and IV-Stability in Gait) were able to differentiate between fast and slow walkers among older women with hip fracture. Balance during gait and anticipatory postural adjustments were shown to be important components of balance, and their cutoff values were indicators of the balance required to reach fast walking levels.