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Lower Extremity Preference During Gross And Fine Motor Skills Performed In Sitting And Standing Postures

The evaluation of lower limb preference in physical therapy practice is critical in order for the clinician to assist patients with functional retraining tasks. No studies in the physical therapy literature present a systematic approach to determine the criteria needed to identify the preferred limb. This research was designed to present a series of tests for effectiveness in determining limb preference. The purpose of this study was to determine whether lower limb preference existed in a group of recreationally athletic women when performing either stability or dynamic skills with the lower extremities while sitting or standing. The relationship of such a preference to handedness was also determined. Forty female recreational athletes, 20 right-handed subjects and 20 left-handed subjects, who ranged in age from 21 to 35 years, participated in this study. Subjects performed three repetitions of the following tests in both sitting and standing: kick a ball, swing a leg over a box, pick up a marble with the toes, and trace a triangle with the toes. The subjects were also asked to stand on one leg. The order of performing the tests was randomized. The results indicated that right-handed subjects performed activities more consistently with one lower extremity when compared with left-handed subjects, regardless of posture (sitting or standing). The difference in limb choice between right- and left-handed subjects was significant for all activities (p < .05). The considerable sensitivity of foot and leg performance following neurological insult renders the assessment of foot and leg preference very important for purposes of clinical rehabilitation.

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