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Effectiveness of a heel cup with an arch support insole on the standing balance of the elderly

Authors Chen T, Chou L, Tsai M, Lo M, Kao M

Received 19 October 2013

Accepted for publication 23 December 2013

Published 20 February 2014 Volume 2014:9 Pages 351—356

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S56268

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

Tzu-Hsuan Chen,1,* Li-Wei Chou,2,3,* Mei-Wun Tsai,4 Ming-Jor Lo,5 Mu-Jung Kao4,5

1Department of Rehabilitation, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Hsinchu, Taiwan; 2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan; 3School of Chinese Medicine, College of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan; 4Department of Physical Therapy and Assistive Technology, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan; 5Department of Rehabilitation, Yangming Branch, Taipei City Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

*These authors contributed equally to this paper

Background: The use of insoles may enhance postural stability and prevent falls. The aim of this study was to design a new insole and to explore the effectiveness of the insole on the standing balance of the healthy elderly.
Methods: The study was conducted at a community hospital. Patients older than 65 years at an outpatient clinic without abnormal gait patterns, lower limb deformities, or foot pain were enrolled. The participants were assigned to good- and poor-stability groups on the basis of the stability index (SI), using the Biodex® Balance System. A heel cup with an arch support insole was provided. Participants wore the insole for 8 weeks for a minimum of 4 hours/day. A static balance test for SI was performed at the initial meeting and 8 weeks after the assigned insoles were worn for each participant.
Results: Five participants (10.0%) of 50 total did not finish the study. There were 25 patients in the good-stability group and 20 in the poor-stability group. The SI, before and after intervention, was significantly different for all 45 participants (3.244±0.688 versus 3.064±0.671; P<0.001). The differences in SI before and after the intervention both in the good-stability group (2.764±0.546 versus 2.592±0.538) and the poor-stability group (3.845±0.188 versus 3.655±0.128) were statistically significant (P<0.001). No statistically significant difference on changes of SI were seen between the two groups.
Conclusion: The results suggest a heel cup with arch support insole is effective in enhancing the standing balance of the elderly. This may be of benefit in preventing falls.

Keywords: insole, heel cup, stability, standing balance, elderly

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