What is the Star Excursion Balance Test?
The Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) is a relatively simple, but somewhat time intensive, test used to measure dynamic balance, otherwise known as dynamic postural control (1). It measures dynamic balance by challenging athletes to balance on one leg and reach as far as possible in eight different directions (2). Though the SEBT is very similar to the Y Balance TestTM, it is important to understand that these are in fact different, with the Y Balance TestTM being a newer and condensed version of the SEBT.
Performance on the SEBT has been shown to differentiate between individuals with lower limb conditions such as chronic ankle instability (3-10), patellofemoral pain (11), and anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (12). To add to this, the SEBT is even capable of assessing improvements in dynamic balance following training interventions (13, 14).
Perhaps the SEBT greatest talent is its ability to identify athletes with a higher risk of lower limb injury. For example, an anterior reach asymmetry of greater than 4cm during the SEBT has been suggested to predict which individuals are at higher risk of lower limb injury (15). However, other researchers have found that only female athletes with a composite score of less than 94% of limb length were at greater risk of injury (15). More recent research in collegiate American football players has shown that athletes with a composite score of less 90% are 3.5 times more likely to sustain an injury (16). All of this information suggests that each sport and population (e.g. gender) appear to have their own injury risk cut-off point (15, 16).