Sports Medicine Research: In the Lab & In the Field: Wii Pre-habilitation (Sports Med Res)


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wii Pre-habilitation

Validity of a jump training apparatus using Wii Balance Board

Yamamoto K & Matsuzawa M.  Gait & Posture. Epub ahead of print 2012. DOI:10.1016.jgaitpost.2012.11.002

Measuring ground reaction and contact pressure forces can be a time-intensive and expensive burden that is often difficult to justify for clinical uses; for example, injury prevention or performance improvements among the athletic population.  Recent technological advancements within video gaming systems and the development of the Wii balance board may make this type of analysis more readily available to clinicians and patients in sports medicine.  Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the validity of the Wii balance board in assessing ground reaction forces in comparison to a laboratory force plate.  First, the authors tested if a force plate and Wii balance board, with a custom software program, generated similar data when a static weight (10 to 180 kg) was placed on them. To test this they placed the weight on the Wii Balance Board which was positioned on the force plate. Then, ten participants (~ 59 kg of weight) performed two jump movements on the Wii balance board, which was still on the force plate, and the results were compared.  Among the static measures, the authors found that the force data from the Wii balance board and force plate were highly related. The Wii balance board was capable of measuring weight with a precision of < 2%. However, the board tended to be less accurate among the weights beyond the max weight recommended by the manufacturer (i.e., > 130 kg, the Wii balance board overestimated the load by 1.5 to 1.7%).  During the jumping trials, the authors found strong correlations between the devices. During the landing phase of the jumps, the Wii Balance Board had greater measurement error, particularly when the ground reaction forces were high.     

Clinically, athletic trainers may have a valid and reliable balance board readily available through a video game system, which can measure center of pressure and ground reaction forces.  However, the Wii balance board is made of plastic and demonstrated physical deformation when forces or weight increased.  This may have led to inaccuracy in the readings.  The manufacturer recommends that individuals with a body weight greater than 130 kg (286 lbs.) should not use the device.  While this limitation would be adequate for a large amount of the athletic population, there are some individuals that this would exclude (e.g., football linemen).  The Wii balance board may be easily utilized to show progress of intervention-based programs, teach athletes how to land appropriately and absorb ground reaction forces, and ultimately aid in injury prevention.  However, it may not be appropriate with larger athletes, or with activities generating large landing forces (e.g., drop jumps) since these conditions may deform the board.  The Wii balance board has been used to monitor and train athletes’ control of center of pressure, and now seems to have implications with ground reaction forces.  Do you have any experience using the Wii or other video game-type systems for any rehabilitation or injury prevention programs?  What games do you think would be beneficial?  Also, do you think this is better to be used as a pre-post test or a training device?

Written by: Nicole Cattano 
Reviewed by: Laura McDonald

Related Posts:
Yamamoto K, & Matsuzawa M (2012). Validity of a jump training apparatus using Wii Balance Board. Gait & posture PMID: 23219781


Brandon Green said...

I have used the Wii balance board for balance testing and have also used it to help healthy athletes find the proper center of gravity and foot placement to equally distribute body weight. Though it was only used to compare to auditory biofeedback, I personally feel the visual and interactive nature of the Wii balance board made the athlete adhere to the tests more.

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