Department of Physical Therapy Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Physical Therapy

Copyright Statement

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College of Health Care Sciences - Physical Therapy Department

First Advisor

Cheryl J Hill

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University. College of Health Care Sciences.


Purpose: Vibrotactile displays have been found to be beneficial in improving balance test scores that correlate with a decrease in fall rate in laboratory studies. Investigations of these devices have been limited to upright stance and have not been done in clinical settings. Furthermore, transitional movements facilitated by vibrotactile displays, such as forward lean and rise found in sit-to-stand, have not been investigated. A prospective study investigated the relationship between force platform vibrotactile intervention and balance test scores, sit-to-stand and falls in subjects with abnormal NeuroCom Sit-to-Stand test results and 2 or more self-reported falls within the last 6 months. Subjects: Subjects included 30 community-dwelling adults, aged 60 to 79 years, 10 as off-site controls, 10 as on-site controls, and 10 as on-site device intervention subjects. Method: The cohort is a prospective case/control study using Pearson r, paired sample t-test, multivariate analysis of variance (M)ANOVA), and Wilcoxon signed rank analysis to determine the relationship between standard of care physical therapy plus vibrotactile force platform device treatment and standard of care physical therapy only. The Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Dynamic Gait Index, functional independence measure-motor (FIM-Motor), NeuroCom Sit-to-Stand normative ratios, NeuroCom Comprehensive Report, and self-reported falls quantify change over time with repeated measure study design. Results: The study found a significant beneficial effect in the device intervention group which realized 39.5/56 to 51.2/56 mean score increase in Berg Balance Score, increase in mean Dynamic Gait Index from 11.7/24 to 19.8/24, mean increase in FIM-Motor from 16.4/21 to 19.5/21 and decrease in self-report falls from 4 to 2 by intervention Day 14. These finds encourage further investigation of vibrotactile force platform devices.


Physical Therapy


Health and environmental sciences, Biofeedback, Fall, Kinesthesis, Movement, Physical therapy, Postural equilibrium, Sit-to-stand balance deficit, Vibrotactile, Vibrotactile postural control

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