June 2018

Gender Matters in Achieving Functional Performance

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How many practice trials are needed to achieve functional performance in static and dynamic balance and hopping tests among those with chronic ankle instability (CAI)? That was the question Jordan Read, a student at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, Texas, and colleagues looked to answer in his poster, Recommended Number of Trials for Balance and Hopping Tests between Male and Female CAI.1

“Previous research using small sample sizes presented mixed results for the recommended number of practice trials for static balance tests,” Read said, “and that no data was available for the recommended number of practice trials for some of the dynamic balance tests and no data was available for  gender differences. We decided to perform this study because these tasks are commonly used to assess function in lower extremity studies and the lack of data from previous research presented a need for gender-based practice trial recommendations.”

Subjects included 50 men and 50 women with CAI who performed six practice and three test trials of the Biodex static balance test (single-leg), SEBT (anterior, posterolateral, posteromedial), triple cross-over hop for distance test and figure 8 hop for time test, 2-3 days apart.

The tests revealed that when a similar number of practice trials were done on both sexes for the Biodex static balance, the men tended to need more practice trials for the SEBT tests and hopping tests to achieve their optimal performance level.

The research showed that there are gender differences in the number of practice trials required when using functional tasks to assess CAI, which Read noted is important for future researchers and clinicians to allow patients to perform the correct number of practice trials to obtain accurate test results.

“In order to obtain accurate results using static and dynamic balance exercises, subjects should be allowed to perform minimally required practice trials based on gender prior to testing trials,” Read said. “It was fascinating to find that most tasks presented gender differences and males tend to need more practice trials performing dynamic hop tests than females to achieve maximum results.”


1. Read J, Jun S, Bruening D, et al. Recommended Number of Trials for Balance and Hopping Tests between Male and Female CAI.

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