The Instrumented Timed “Up & Go” Test Distinguishes Turning Characteristics in Vestibular Hypofunction

Kyoung Jae Kim, Yoav Gimmon, Jennifer Millar, Kelly Brewer, Jorge Serrador, Michael C. Schubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. Deficits in vestibular function increase the risk for falls while turning. However, the clinical assessment of turning in patients with vestibular dysfunction is lacking, and evidence is limited that identifies the effectiveness of vestibular physical therapy in improving turning performance. The purpose of this study was to quantify walking and turning performance during the instrumented Timed “Up & Go” (TUG) test using body-worn inertial measurement units (IMUs). Novel instrumented TUG parameters were investigated for ability to distinguish patients with unilateral vestibular deafferentation (UVD) from control groups and discriminate the differences in turning parameters of patients with UVD following vestibular physical therapy. Methods. Thirty-eight individuals were recruited following UVD surgery: 26 age-matched veteran controls with reports of dizziness not from a peripheral vestibular origin, and 12 age-matched healthy controls. Participants were donned with IMUs and given verbal instructions to complete the TUG test as fast as safely possible. The IMU-instrumented and automated assessment of the TUG test provided component-based TUG parameters, including the novel walk:turn ratio. Among the participants with UVD, 19 completed an additional instrumented TUG testing after vestibular physical therapy. Results. The walk:turn time ratio showed that turning performance in patients with UVD before rehabilitation is significantly more impaired than both the individuals with nonperipheral conditions and healthy controls. Vestibular rehabilitation significantly improved turning performance and “normalized” their walk:turn time ratio compared with healthy controls. The duration of the straight walking component in individuals with UVD before vestibular physical therapy, however, was not significantly different compared with that component in people after vestibular physical therapy and in healthy controls. Conclusion. The IMU-instrumented TUG test can be used to distinguish individuals with vestibular deafferentation and to objectively quantify the change in their turning performance after vestibular physical therapy. Impact. The IMU-based instrumented TUG parameters have the potential to quantify the efficacy of vestibular physical therapy and be adopted in the clinic.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Therapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Physical Therapy Association. All rights reserved.


  • Gait
  • Inertial Measurement Unit
  • Rehabilitation
  • Timed Up and Go
  • Turn
  • Vestibular Hypofunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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