The Y Balance Test

Over the next few weeks we want to touch on returning to sports, specifically in the lower extremities. There are a lot of different tools that we use during treatment at WPT, but for athletes that need to return to sports, one of the many tests we utilize for return to sport testing is the Y balance test. This test is part of a functional movement screen that is used to determine balance and functional symmetry which in turn can help a physical therapist assess if the athlete is ready to return to their specific sport.

At WPT, we do not believe in band-aid solutions and we always want to make sure we are thorough, that’s why this test is so important. We want to look past just doing basic movement tests and look at the nuances of what it means to return to the particular sport in question. This test is a good measure of the asymmetry between an athlete’s injured side and non-injured side and making sure that their range of motion is safe and appropriate before returning to sports. That’s why this, and several other return to sport tests, are so important.

This is a simple, yet reliable test to measure dynamic stability. It requires the athlete to balance on one leg while simultaneously reaching as far as possible with the other leg in three separate directions: anterior, posterolateral, and posteromedial. This test measures the athlete’s strength, stability, and balance in various directions and can be predictive for risk of injury.

We know that it is important to feel ready to return to sports, but it is equally as important for an athlete to prove they are ready. We plan to continue this topic next week so stay tuned!