Short-Term Effect of BalanceWear Therapy on Mobility in Older Adults With Mobility Limitations

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Abstract

Background and Purpose:

Mobility limitations are prevalent among older adults and are related to falls, morbidity, and mortality. BalanceWear Therapy (BWT) improves measures of mobility among people with multiple sclerosis but has not been studied in older adults. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to examine the effects of BWT on measures of mobility among older adults with limited mobility.

Methods:

This study was a double-blind, randomized controlled trial of older adults recruited from senior living facilities. Adults aged 86.0 (6.1) years were randomized into a BWT, weighted orthotic (WG), group, n = 17, or a sham BWT, sham-weighted orthotic (SWG), group, n = 16. All participants wore the orthotic for 4 hours per day for 5 days. Mobility, measured by the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), Timed Up and Go (TUG), gait speed (GS), and the Functional Gait Assessment (FGA), was recorded pre- and postintervention. Separate repeated analysis of variances were conducted for each variable to determine the intervention group (WG, SWG) by time (before, after) interaction effect.

Results and Discussion:

After a 5-day intervention of strategically weighted BWT intervention compared with a sham intervention, the SPPB improved 1.3 points in the WG, with no change in the SWG (P = .04). No between-group differences were observed for the TUG (P = .70), GS (P = .74), or FGA (P = .22).

Conclusion:

A short-term BWT intervention resulted in improvements in mobility on the SPPB among older adults with limited mobility.

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