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Gerontology. 2009;55(6):630-6. doi: 10.1159/000240016. Epub 2009 Sep 17.

Postural balance and self-reported balance confidence in older adults with a hip fracture history.

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  • 1Department of Health Promotion and Prevention of Chronic Diseases, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland.



Balance dysfunction and loss of balance confidence have been associated with functional limitations and loss of independency in daily tasks. This study examined various aspects of postural balance and balance confidence between older adults with a hip fracture history and their non-fractured counterparts. A comprehensive assessment of balance capacity in older adults with a hip fracture history may help to identify aspects of postural balance that play an important role in the mobility recovery and the avoidance of further falls.


The present study comprised 79 community-dwelling older adults with a hip fracture history and 31 non-fractured subjects of the same age, who participated in balance tests including both force platform measures and functional balance testing (Berg Balance Scale, BBS). In addition, balance confidence was assessed with the Activities-Specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale.


Persons with a hip fracture history had a markedly poorer balance control and were significantly less confident maintaining their balance during daily activities compared to the controls. Sixty percent of the subjects in the hip fracture group versus 87% of the non-fracture group (chi(2) test, p = 0.003) were able to perform the semi-tandem standing with their eyes closed. Significantly lower scores in the BBS (hip fracture group 46.3 vs. non-fracture group 52.9) and ABC (hip fracture group 59.4 vs. non-fracture group 77.5%) tests were found among the hip fracture subjects compared to the controls. In addition, the performance time in the lateral weight-shifting task (hip fracture group 13.4 vs. non-fracture group 8.4 s) was significantly slower compared to the controls.


Balance impairments along with the loss of balance confidence are persistent problems among community-dwelling older adults with a history of hip fracture and may contribute to mobility limitations and the risk of falling. These areas of function and behaviour in older adults with a hip fracture history should be taken into consideration when planning effective, well-targeted rehabilitation programs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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