Feasibility and Outcomes of a Home-Based Exercise Program on Improving Balance and Gait Stability in Women With Lower-Limb Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Pilot Study
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Williams SB, Brand CA, Hill KD, Hunt SB, Moran H. Feasibility and outcomes of a home-based exercise program on improving balance and gait stability in women with lower-limb osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis: a pilot study. Objective: To evaluate the feasibility and gait stability and balance outcomes of a 4-month individualized home exercise program for women with arthritis. Design: Pre-post interventional study. Setting: General community. Participants: Women (N=49) (volunteers) with lower-limb osteoarthritis or lower-limb rheumatoid arthritis were enrolled. Only 39 subjects were eligible and completed the study. Intervention: After completion of the initial assessment, all participants received home balance exercises from an experienced physiotherapist based on assessment findings and exercises available from commercially available kits. All measures were repeated 4 months later. Main Outcome Measures: Falls risk (Falls Risk of Older People-Community Setting) and balance measures. Results: Thirty-nine women (mean age, 69.3y; 95% confidence interval, 65.7-72.9) completed the 4-month program. At baseline, 64% of participants reported falling in the preceding 12 months, and the average falls risk (Falls Risk of Older People-Community Setting) score was 14.5, with 42% rated as moderate risk (16-23). Participants achieved improved performance on most balance and related measures after the exercise program, including falls risk (P=.01), activity levels (P=.015), fear of falling (P=.022), functional reach test (P=.001), rising index for sit to stand (P=.001), step width in walking (P=.001), and body mass index (P=.006). Conclusions: An individualized balance training home exercise program is feasible for older women with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis and may improve stability during walking and other functional activities. © 2010 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine.
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