International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Background and purpose: Strength and range of motion of the foot and ankle have been shown to be related to measures of balance and fall risk in older adults. The primary purpose of this pilot investigation was to evaluate the feasibility of a 6-week home-based exercise program focusing on the foot and ankle and any associated changes in balance, muscle performance and range of motion in older adults. Methods: This single-group repeated measures study involved a convenience sample of 21 healthy communitydwelling older adults age 60-90. Nineteen participants completed all phases of the testing and training. The intervention was a 6-week home-based exercise program focusing on ankle musculature performed 3 times per week. Outcome measures were assessed on three separate occasions: baseline, pre-intervention, and post-intervention. Outcome measures included the Mini-Balance Evaluation Systems Test (Mini-BESTest), gait speed, Timed Up and Go (TUG), Activities Specific Balance Confidence Scale (ABC), gastrocnemius muscle strength and ankle dorsiflexion range of motion. Results: Following the intervention, there were significant improvements in the Mini-BESTest, gait speed, TUG, gastrocnemius strength and ankle dorsiflexion range of motion. There was also significant positive relationship between improvements in the Mini-BESTest and gastrocnemius strength. There were no unanticipated adverse events and compliance was high. Conclusions: A simple but progressive home-based exercise program for the foot and ankle appears to be feasible for older individuals and may lead to meaningful improvements in measures of balance and mobility. Further research of this targeted intervention may be warranted.
© 2013 Laurel Long, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Long, Laurel; Jackson, Kurt; and Laubach, Lloyd L., "A Home-based Exercise Program for the Foot and Ankle to Improve Balance, Muscle Performance and Flexibility in Community Dwelling Older Adults: A Pilot Study" (2013). Physical Therapy Faculty Publications. 83.