Thoracopelvic assisted movement training to improve gait and balance in elderly at risk of falling: A case series

Shmuel Springer*, Itamar Friedman, Avi Ohry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Age-related changes in coordinated movement pattern of the thorax and pelvis may be one of the factors contributing to fall risk. This report describes the feasibility of using a new thoracopelvic assisted movement device to improve gait and balance in an elderly population with increased risk for falls. Methods: In this case series, 19 older adults were recruited from an assisted living facility. All had gait difficulties (gait speed <1.0 m/s) and history of falls. Participants received 12 training sessions with the thoracopelvic assisted movement device. Functional performance was measured before, during (after 6 sessions), and after the 12 sessions. Outcomes measures were Timed Up and Go, Functional Reach Test, and the 10-meter Walk Test. Changes in outcomes were calculated for each participant in the context of minimal detectable change (MDC) values. Results: More than 25% of participants showed changes >MDC in their clinical measures after 6 treatment sessions, and more than half improved >MDC after 12 sessions. Six subjects (32%) improved their Timed Up and Go time by >4 seconds after 6 sessions, and 10 (53%) after 12 sessions. After the intervention, 4 subjects (21%) improved their 10-meter Walk Test velocity from limited community ambulation (0.4–0.8 m/s) to functional community ambulation (>0.8 m/s). Conclusion: Thoracopelvic assisted movement training that mimics normal walking pattern may have clinical implications, by improving skills that enhance balance and gait function. Additional randomized, controlled studies are required to examine the effects of this intervention on larger cohorts with a variety of subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1143-1149
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Interventions in Aging
StatePublished - 20 Jun 2018


  • Balance
  • Gait
  • Older adults
  • Training


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