Age-related differences in Fukuda stepping and Babinski-Weil tests, within-day variability and test–retest reliability

Nicole Paquet, Deborah A. Jehu, Yves Lajoie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: The Fukuda stepping and Babinski-Weil tests are associated with unperceived body rotation and linear displacements in young adults, but performance in older adults on these two tests has yet to be determined. Aim: The main purpose was to compare the performance and reliability of the Fukuda stepping and Babinski-Weil tests in young and older adults. Methods: Fifty older and 50 young adults executed three trials of each test on day 1 (test) and day 2 (retest). Lateral and longitudinal displacements and body rotation relative to the starting position were measured. Means and standard deviations (SD) were compared between the two groups with Mann–Whitney tests. Test–retest reliability was assessed with intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC). Foot preference was determined from the score on the Waterloo Footedness Questionnaire and correlated with test scores. Results: Lateral and longitudinal displacements were significantly larger in older than young participants on the Fukuda stepping test (p < .01) and significantly smaller on the Babinski-Weil test (p < .001). Older participants displayed a significantly smaller SD on the three Babinski-Weil test trials (p < .001). Displacement and rotation measures ICC ranged between 0.25 and 0.77 in older and between 0.58 and 0.80 in young participants. Foot preference correlated with rotation on the Fukuda stepping test in young (p < .05), but not in older participants (p > .05). Discussion and conclusion: Linear displacements, but not body rotation, were different between older and young adults. There was no clear age-related differences in test–retest reliability, but the moderate reliability indicates that performance can vary from day to day in both age groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-230
Number of pages8
JournalAging Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Babinski-Weil test
  • Footedness
  • Fukuda stepping test
  • Sensorimotor integration
  • Spatial navigation
  • Test–retest reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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