Brazilian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology
versão impressa ISSN 1808-8694
BRETAN, Onivaldo; PINHEIRO, Rafael Martins e CORRENTE, José Eduardo. Balance and plantar cutaneous sensitivity functional assessment in community-dwelling elderly. Braz. j. otorhinolaryngol. (Impr.) [online]. 2010, vol.76, n.2, pp. 219-224. ISSN 1808-8694. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1808-86942010000200012.
Impaired balance is one of several factors that increase an elderly's susceptibility to falls. Balance assessment can be performed using postural tests and plantar cutaneous sensitivity tests. AIM: To assess balance disorders and loss of plantar cutaneous sensitivity in the elderly and look for association between these alterations. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A descriptive cross-sectional study involving 45 elderly submitted to the Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and the plantar sensitivity test with nylon monofilament. We used chi-square and Fisher's exact tests, and ROC curves were created in order to study the sensitivity and specificity of BBS. RESULTS: Two and 4 individuals showed balance and cutaneous sensation disorders, respectively. There was a significant association between the complaint of impaired balance and loss of skin sensitivity (p = 0.047), and there was a reasonable agreement (Kappa: 0.6457) between the BBS and the sensorial test. A significant association was also found among 6 of the 14 BBS tasks and the sensitivity test. CONCLUSION: Most of the elderly living independently in the community showed normal balance and plantar cutaneous sensation. When impaired, these functions appeared associated in a way that if the tests are performed together, the accuracy of the evaluation of the balance increases.
Palavras-chave : elderly; posture; public health.