The maximum reach test (mReach) is designed to measure the limits of stability.
The patient is instructed to stand facing a wall holding a bendable piece of plastic in the preferred hand. The plastic piece is placed between the thumb and index finger so that 4 cm is free. The patient is instructed to reach forward to touch the wall with the plastic piece, without compromising safety or seeking support on the wall. If the wall is reachable the patient is instructed to step further backwards. If the wall isn’t reachable, the patient is instructed to step forward. This procedure is continued until the patient only just is able to touch the wall with the plastic piece without seeking support on the wall and without falling forward or stepping.
During the procedure the assessor is standing next to the patient with one arm in front of the patient’s chest, being ready to catch the patient if necessary. When the patients maximal reach potential is approaching a mark using a chalk is placed on the floor in front of the patient´s big toe. For each trial a new mark is placed. When the final capacity is reached the score of the mReach is calculated as the distance from the final mark to the wall divided with the patient´s height.
No number of trials is defined but experience with more than 1000 patients in our clinic shows that between 4 to 6 trials of adjusting distance and reaching is necessary to find the patients maximal reach capacity. This usually completes the test in 1-2 minutes.