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Thoracopelvic assisted movement training to improve gait and balance in elderly at risk of falling: a case series

Authors Springer S, Friedman I, Ohry A

Received 28 February 2018

Accepted for publication 2 May 2018

Published 20 June 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 1143—1149


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Shmuel Springer,1 Itamar Friedman,2 Avi Ohry3,4

1Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel; 2ProMedoss, Charlotte, NC, USA; 3Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel; 4Reuth Rehabilitation and Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel

Background: Age-related changes in coordinated movement pattern of the thorax and pelvis may be one of the factors contributing to fall risk. This report describes the feasibility of using a new thoracopelvic assisted movement device to improve gait and balance in an elderly population with increased risk for falls.
Methods: In this case series, 19 older adults were recruited from an assisted living facility. All had gait difficulties (gait speed <1.0 m/s) and history of falls. Participants received 12 training sessions with the thoracopelvic assisted movement device. Functional performance was measured before, during (after 6 sessions), and after the 12 sessions. Outcomes measures were Timed Up and Go, Functional Reach Test, and the 10-meter Walk Test. Changes in outcomes were calculated for each participant in the context of minimal detectable change (MDC) values.
Results: More than 25% of participants showed changes >MDC in their clinical measures after 6 treatment sessions, and more than half improved >MDC after 12 sessions. Six subjects (32%) improved their Timed Up and Go time by >4 seconds after 6 sessions, and 10 (53%) after 12 sessions. After the intervention, 4 subjects (21%) improved their 10-meter Walk Test velocity from limited community ambulation (0.4–0.8 m/s) to functional community ambulation (>0.8 m/s).
Conclusion: Thoracopelvic assisted movement training that mimics normal walking pattern may have clinical implications, by improving skills that enhance balance and gait function. Additional randomized, controlled studies are required to examine the effects of this intervention on larger cohorts with a variety of subjects.

Keywords: gait, balance, older adults, training

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