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Original Research

The Influence of Upper Body Fatigue on Dynamic Standing Balance

Authors:  Wassinger CA, McKinney H, Roane S, Davenport MJ, Owens B, Breese U, Sokell GA

Muscle fatigue is related to a decline in force output and proprioception. These can ultimately have adverse effects on neuromuscular control and functional performance.  Local muscle fatigue has been shown to have undesirable consequences on dynamic standing balance; however, much less is known regarding the relationship between distant fatigue and dynamic standing.  The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of upper body fatigue on dynamic standing balance.  It was hypothesized that distant fatigue in upper body musculature would show a significant decrease in dynamic standing balance as assessed by the Lower Quarter Y-Balance Test (YBT-LQ). Significant and clinically relevant differences were noted in the (ANT) and overall dynamic standing balance measures after completing the upper body fatigue protocol.  The findings of this research demonstrate that upper body fatigue has adverse effects on dynamic standing balance, as measured by performance on the YBT-LQ. The authors concluded that physical therapists should be aware of the adverse influence distant fatigue may exhibit on neuromuscular control in muscles not actively involved in the fatiguing exercise.  The balance deficits noted may indicate an increased risk of injury as muscles not directly contributing to standing balance become fatigued. 

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