Purpose: Reductions in hip and ankle strength and range of motion (ROM) in elderly subjects have been associated with decreased functional mobility and risk of falls. The purpose of this research was to determine if short duration hip or ankle interventions designed to increase ROM and strength could improve ROM and strength of those joints, as well as improve balance and gait outcomes. Methods: Well elderly volunteers recruited from retirement communities and a senior citizen center were randomly assigned to a hip or ankle intervention group. Both groups performed a home exercise program (HEP) of stretching 5 days a week and strengthening 3 times a week for 8 weeks. The HEP was focused on the hip or ankle joint depending on group assignment. Results: Thirty-five subjects completed the exercise program. Neither group demonstrated statistically significant change from pretest to post-test in hip or ankle ROM or strength, or in balance or gait measures. Conclusions: The 8-week HEP was insufficient, perhaps in duration intensity, to effect change in impairments or functional limitations in a group of well elderly subjects. Physical therapists should be aware of limitations when giving unsupervised targeted exercises for a short duration.
Gras, Laura Z; Levangie, Pamela K; Mary (Tina) Goodwin-Segal; Lawrence, Deborah A. "A Comparison of Hip Versus Ankle Exercises in Elders and the Influence on Balance and Gait." Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy 27.2 (2004): 39-46.