The Tinetti Balance Assessment Tool in physical therapy

The Tinetti Balance Assessment is a physical therapy test used by physical therapists to test your gait and related issues

This is also called Performance Oriented Mobility Assessment (POMA). It is used for patients with gait disbalance and Decreased body stability. Poor balance can be due to multiple causes such as

  • Aging and  muscle weakness due to aging
  • Muscle Weakness due to muscle dystrophy
  • Bad lifestyle with no or less physical activity
  • Injuries that affect the ankles, knees, hips, muscles, or bones
  •  Several conditions that can cause weakness in the muscles of the body such as arthritis, stenosis, or osteoporosis 
  • Neurological conditions that adversely affect strength and balance, such as strokes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or epilepsy
  • Loss of sensory system
  • A condition such as vertigo

How it is done

In this test, you are asked to perform multiple actions, ns, and you are scored according to that. It has two parts gait assessment and balance assessment. Gait assessment has 12 scores while balance assessment has 16 points. In total it has 28 points. Each step of the assessment can be scored between 0 to 3.
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Gait assessments

In gait assessment following techniques are used

  • Hesitancy with gait 
  • Step length and height ratio
  • Foot clearance 
  • Step symmetry 
  • Step continuity 
  • Path deviation 
  • Trunk sway 
  • Walking stance 

Balance assessment

For balance assessment following steps are used

  • Sitting with appropriate balance on a chair 
  • Rising from a chair
  • Standing in the appropriate position
  • Standing balance with a slight poke at the chest
  • Standing balance with  closed eyes
  • Rotating completely in 360 degree
  • Sitting down 

After all these exercises a physical therapist score your gait and balance a score of 18 points or less indicates a high risk of falls and 

19-23 points indicate a moderate risk of falls while 24 points indicate a lower risk of falls This test just takes 10 to 15 minutes and based on your score on this test your physical therapist will suggest you a treatment to balance your body and gait.


This is the most effective way to assess your gait. The physical therapist can evaluate your balance and gait after an assessment of balance and gait. Underlying causes can be identified for poor balance and gait and then your physical therapist can work with you for removing the underlying cause so that secondary injuries because of falling can be prevented effectively.
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