This study aimed to assess the impact of Ankylosing Spondylitis- (AS) related postural deformities on balance.
29 patients with AS and 21 healthy controls were recruited for this purpose.
In patients with AS, disease activity and functional status were assessed using the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index and Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index respectively.
For assessing exercise capacity and dynamic balance, timed and go test, five times sit-to-stand test, gait speed and 6-min walk test were performed.
Romberg tests were used to assess the static balance and proprioception whereas Dynamic Gait Index, Functional Gait Assessment, Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Activity-Specific Balance Confidence Scale (ABC), Dizziness Handicap Inventory and functional reach test were used to assess dynamic balance and risk of falling.
Two subgroups of AS, namely AS1 and AS2, were then compared with each other as well as with healthy controls.
The findings of the study revealed that four parameters assessing balance, namely five times sit-to-stand test, tandem Romberg test with eyes closed, BBS and ABC scores were significantly worse in the whole group of patients with AS than in healthy controls.
Furthermore, in the AS2 subgroup, the number of significantly worse parameters assessing balance was increased to nine than in healthy controls.
On comparing two subgroups of patients with AS, only the BBS scores, which evaluate both static and dynamic balance and risk of falling, were found to be significantly worse in the AS2 subgroup.
Significantly worse BBS scores in the AS2 subgroup than in the AS1 subgroup may suggest the presence of more dynamic balance problems in advanced disease; however, future studies comprising larger samples are necessary to confirm this assumption.
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