Base of Support

The definition of balance is keeping your center of mass(COM) over your base of support(BOS).  If your center of mass goes outside the base of support, you fall.  Manipulating the COM/BOS is how therapists move people.  Ok, so in standing, a woman’s center of mass is like around her belly button and a dude’s is around his chest.  When you’re standing, your feet are your base so stand up and draw a circle around your feet – that’s your base of support.  Stand with your feet wider apart, it’s easier to balance right?  That’s because you just made your base of support bigger.  When balancing on one leg you have a wee little base of support so it’s harder.  That’s why therapists tell people to use canes and walkers, to increase their base of support.  When you’re using a cane, your BOS is no longer just your feet but the point of that cane is included in the circle around your feet so the BOS is bigger.

But sometimes the muscles don’t cooperate or aren’t strong enough and it doesn’t matter how freakin’ big you make your BOS.  So, yeah.

Categories: Rehab, Stroke stuff

Tags: , , , , , ,

12 replies

  1. Around here my base of support is on top of pure ice. sucks.

  2. Interesting. I had never thought about a walker or cane helping widen the BOS. Actually, I don’t think I had thought about how it works at all. Zack uses a walker but still needs a spotter because he has super poor balance. His trunk is really wobbly which makes his chest-center of mass- go outside his base of support. This is why he is working on hip and ab exercises, which is the story if his life in the last none months- for some reason he came out if surgery which a completely wiped out mid section. The thought is that as his mid section is more controlled then he will be better able to hold his balance. This is really helpful!

  3. Are larger feet helpful? Or do they just get in the way?

  4. BOS, I’m more curious now, especially the chest bit, never knew that, I have ataxia too. Mind some advice sharing

  5. Great job, Amy. That explanation of BOS was super!

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