, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 215-221
Date: 01 May 2009

Martial arts fall training to prevent hip fractures in the elderly

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Abstract

Summary

Hip fractures are a common and serious consequence of falls. Training of proper fall techniques may be useful to prevent hip fractures in the elderly. The results suggested that martial arts fall techniques may be trainable in older individuals. Better performance resulted in a reduced impact force.

Introduction

Hip fractures are a common and serious consequence of falls. Fall training may be useful to prevent hip fractures in the elderly. This pilot study determined whether older individuals could learn martial arts (MA) fall techniques and whether this resulted in a reduced hip impact force during a sideways fall.

Methods

Six male and nineteen female healthy older individuals completed a five-session MA fall training. Before and after training, force and kinematic data were collected during volitional sideways falls from kneeling position. Two MA experts evaluated the fall performance. Fear of falling was measured with a visual analog scale (VAS).

Results

After fall training, fall performance from a kneeling position was improved by a mean increase of 1.6 on a ten-point scale (P < 0.001). Hip impact force was reduced by a mean of 8% (0.20 N/N, P = 0.016). Fear of falling was reduced by 0.88 on a VAS scale (P = 0.005).

Conclusion

MA techniques may be trainable in older individuals, and a better performance may reduce the hip impact force in a volitional sideways fall from a kneeling position. The additional reduction of fear of falling might result in the prevention of falls and related injuries.