Fall Risk Awareness & Prevention: Single Leg Test

Fall Risk Awareness & Prevention:

Single Leg Test

By Biagio Mazza

Are you looking for a self test that you can do to assess your ability to tell whether or not you're a fall risk? At Elite Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy we use a test referred to as a single leg stand to do just that.

NOTE: Please be very safe when performing these tests. Many people cannot get into a single leg stand positions, and we totally get that. We encourage you to perform this test by something sturdy, such as a countertop, so you can regain balance quickly when you reach your max time.

To understand your specific risk you simply time yourself while balancing on one leg. Your "max time" is considered how long you are able to stand on one leg and balance with your eyes open without falling to catch yourself, and without having to put your hands on something to stabilize. Based on your age, your max time will indicate your specific fall risk:

  • If you're in your 60s, your max should be anywhere between 20 and 25 seconds
  • The max time per age tends to decrease with younger individuals, and increase with older individuals You can check with your physical therapist to understand your specific ideal time.
  • If you can't get into a single leg stand position, you would immediately classify as a fall risk.

That gives they kind of an idea about where you might stand, relative to the normative values in your age bracket.

As a reminder, be safe when you do it, please. Keep a chair close by. Keep yourself standing on a firm surface. Keep your hands by something, if you need to, you can grab on to, such as a countertop, something solid like that.

This is a nice test that you can do to assess your fall risk.