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

Authors Chen TH, Chou LW, Tsai MW, Lo MJ, Kao MJ

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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