Physical therapists have a number of tools and tests in their arsenal to help determine a patient’s baseline during an assessment. One of those tools is known as the Tinetti Balance Assessment Test. Having ideal gait and upright balance is essential for ensuring stress is dispersed as it should be on your lower body, and this test can help to identify any abnormalities that need to be addressed by a physical therapist. Below, we take a closer look at this test and explain how a physical therapist would use this tool to create a rehab plan for their patient.
Understanding The Tinetti Test
The Tinetti Balance Test is an assessment that is divided into two categories. One test scores a person’s gait, while the other provides a score for their balance. The gait assessment is scored out of 12 points, while the balance portion is scored out of 16 points, giving a possible total score of 28. Different aspects of these two categories are graded by a physical therapist, who gives the patient a score of 0, 1 or 2. Here’s a closer look at each test:
The physical therapist will instruct the patient to walk away from and towards the PT. The PT will asses the following factors:
- Step length and height
- Foot clearance
- Step continuity
- Step symmetry
- Gait hesitancy
- Direction deviation
- Body steadiness
- Walking stance
During the balance portion of the test, the PT will ask the patient to perform a number of different actions. Those actions include:
- Sitting upright in a chair
- Standing up from a chair
- Balancing while standing
- Balancing while slight pressure is applied to the chest
- Balancing with eyes closed
- Balancing while turning 360 degrees
- Sitting down onto a chair
The scoring system suggests that any patient with 18 or fewer points is at a high risk for falls. Patients between 19-23 are at a medium risk for falls, and those with a score of 24 or more have a low risk of falls. Overall, the test can be completed in about 10-15 minutes.
These tests allow a physical therapist to get a better understanding of exactly what limitations a patient has. It may be obvious that there is an issue with their gait or their balance, but these assessments allow the physical therapist to create an individualized plan that targets specific deficiencies. When done correctly, the PT can use the test to determine if specific areas like the hip flexors, quadriceps, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, or the tibialis anterior should be targeted with strengthening or range of motion exercises.
So if you are experiencing difficulty walking or are noticing that it’s becoming harder to remain steady on your feet, connect with a physical therapist and get to the bottom of your issue. Oftentimes these issues can be greatly improved after only a few sessions with a physical therapist. For assistance in the greater Twin Cities area, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041.
- How Technology Is Innovating The World Of Physical Therapy - June 5, 2023
- How Patients Can Make Their Physical Therapy Exercises More Fun - June 2, 2023
- Does Medicare Pay For Physical Therapy? - May 30, 2023