Perturbation-based balance training for falls reduction among older adults: Current evidence and implications for clinical practice

Marissa H. G. Gerards, Christopher McCrum*, Avril Mansfield, Kenneth Meijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

97 Citations (Web of Science)
34 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Falls are a leading cause of injury, hospitalization and even death among older adults. Although various strength and balance exercise interventions have shown moderate reductions in falls incidence among healthy older adults, no significant falls incidence improvements have been consistently seen in frail older adults or in patient groups with an increased falls risk (e.g. people with Parkinson's disease and stroke). This might be due to a lack of task specificity of previous exercise interventions to the recovery actions required to prevent a fall. Perturbation-based balance training (PBT) is an emerging task-specific intervention that aims to improve reactive balance control after destabilizing perturbations in a safe and controlled environment. Although early studies were carried out predominantly in research laboratory settings, work in clinical settings with various patient groups has been proliferating. A systematic search of recent PBT studies showed a significant reduction of falls incidence among healthy older adults and certain patient groups (e.g. people with Parkinson's disease and stroke), with clinically relevant reductions in frail older adults. The most practical methods in clinical settings might be treadmill-based systems and therapist-applied perturbations, and PBT that incorporates multiple perturbation types and directions might be of most benefit. Although more controlled studies with long-term follow-up periods are required to better elucidate the effects of PBT on falls incidence, PBT appears to be a feasible and effective approach to falls reduction among older adults in clinical settings. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2017; 17: 2294-2303..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2294-2303
Number of pages10
JournalGeriatrics & Gerontology International
Volume17
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

Keywords

  • aged
  • falls
  • gait
  • locomotion
  • postural balance
  • RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL
  • REPEATED POSTURAL PERTURBATIONS
  • COMMUNITY-DWELLING ADULTS
  • PARKINSONS-DISEASE
  • RISK-FACTORS
  • STEPPING BEHAVIOR
  • PREVENTING FALLS
  • ELDERLY-PEOPLE
  • FUTURE FALLS
  • EXERCISE

Cite this