, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 467-472

Effects of unipedal standing balance exercise on the prevention of falls and hip fracture among clinically defined high-risk elderly individuals: a randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Background

The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the unipedal standing balance exercise for 1 min to prevent falls and hip fractures in high-risk elderly individuals with a randomized controlled trial. This control study was designed as a 6-month intervention trial.

Subjects

Subjects included 553 clinically defined high-risk adults who were living in residences or in the community. They were randomized to an exercise group and a control group.

Methods

Randomization to the subjects was performed by a table of random numbers. A unipedal standing balance exercise with open eyes was performed by standing on each leg for 1 min three times per day. As a rule, subjects of the exercise group stood on one leg without holding onto any support, but unstable subjects were permitted to hold onto a bar during the exercise time. Falls and hip fractures were reported by nurses, physical therapists, or facility staff with a survey sheet every month. This survey sheet was required every month for both groups.

Results

Registered subjects were 553 persons ranging in age from 37 to 102 years (average, 81.6 years of age). Twenty-six subjects dropped out. The number of falls and hip fractures for the 6-month period after the trial for 527 of the 553 subjects for whom related data were available were assessed. The exercise group comprised 315 subjects and the control group included 212 subjects. The cumulative number of falls of the exercise group, with 1 multiple faller omitted, was 118, and the control group recorded 121 falls. A significant intergroup difference was observed. However, the cumulative number of hip fractures was only 1 case in both groups. This difference was not statistically significant.

Conclusions

The unipedal standing balance exercise is effective to prevent falls but was not shown to be statistically significant in the prevention of hip fracture in this study.