Balance ability measured with the Berg Balance Scale: a determinant of fall history in community-dwelling adults with leg amputation

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Objective: Falls are common among adults with leg amputations and associated with balance confidence. But subjective confidence is not equivalent with physical ability. This multivariate analyses of community-dwelling adults with leg amputations examined relationships among individual characteristics, falls, balance ability and balance confidence. Design: Cross-sectional study. Subjects/Patients: Community-dwelling adults with leg amputations recruited from a support group and prosthetic clinic. Methods: Subjects provided self-reported medical/fall history, prosthetic functional use, and Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) questionnaire data. Balance ability was assessed with the Berg Balance Scale (BBS). Fall incidence was categorized as any fall (one or more) and recurrent falls (more than one). Multivariate logistic regression analyzed relationships within the two fall categories. Cross tabulations and ANOVA analyzed differences among subcategories. Results: Fifty-four subjects (mean age 56.8) with various etiologies, amputation levels, and balance abilities participated. 53.7% had any fall, 25.9% had recurrent falls. Models for both fall categories correctly classified fall history in > 70% of subjects with combinations of the variables ABC, BBS, body-mass-index, and amputation level. Conclusion: Falls occurred regardless of clinical characteristics. Total BBS and select item scores were independent determinants of fall history. Unlike other balance-impaired populations, adults with leg amputation and better balance ability had greater odds of falling.