Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2016

Abstract

To examine if the use of heat at home can result in better quality and safer mobility in the elderly with gait and balance impairments.

Setting: Randomized longitudinal cross over study design in a clinical setting.

Methods: 20 people with impaired mobility (assessed as a score of more than 4 on the Stepping On questionnaire) were tested with a multi-camera gait analysis system, a treadmill with pressure sensors, a balance platform and the timed up and go and walking speed tests before and after using ThermaCare continuous heat wraps on their legs and knees for 6 days at 4 hours per day. The loss in mobility could not be due to pain killers or other drugs that reduced mobility.

Results: Muscle tremor was reduced, mobility of the joints was improved, balance was significantly improved, and gait was improved after 6 sessions of heat application on the legs. As per the literature, this should reduce the chance of falls in this population.

Conclusion: Using continuous heat wraps may be an important adjunct for improving gait in the elderly with gait impairments.

Publisher's Statement

Originally published in the Journal of Physiotherapy & Physical Rehabilitation, 1(1) [Article 1000105]. Licensed under CC BY. This material can be found here.

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