The Rehabilitative Effects of Guided Motor Imagery on Gait and Balance in Older Adults
Objective, This study’s purpose was to assess the efficacy of motor imagery in improving gait and balance dysfunctions and reducing fall risk.
Methods, 11 community-dwelling older adults (aged 70 years old and older) with self-reported difficulties in gait/balance were randomly placed in either a physical therapy (PT) or motor imagery (MI) group for 1 week.
Results, Both groups demonstrated improvement in post-test and retention measurements compared to baseline.
Discussion, MI and PT interventions over a brief time showed similar effectiveness in improving functional gait and balance. However, the MI group retained improvement and tended to increase in improvements one-week post-intervention, where the PT group stayed the same or decreased in ability (testing: TUG, Berg, & ABC Scale*). These results suggest that MI may be a valuable intervention to reduce fall risk.
* Timed Up and Go (TUG), Short-Form Berg Balance (Berg), & Activities-Specific Balance (ABC) Scale
Keywords: gait training, balance training, geriatric, fall risk