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Ann Biomed Eng. 2012 May;40(5):1111-21. doi: 10.1007/s10439-011-0477-0. Epub 2011 Dec 2.

Effects of moveable platform training in preventing slip-induced falls in older adults.

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School of Biomedical Engineering and Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.


Identifying effective interventions is vital in preventing slip-induced fall accidents in older adults. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the efficacy of moveable platform training in improving recovery reactions and reducing fall frequency in older adults. Twenty-four older adults were recruited and randomly assigned to two groups (training and control). Both groups underwent three sessions including baseline slip, training, and transfer of training on a slippery surface. Both groups experienced two slips on a slippery surface, one during the baseline and the other (after 2 weeks) during the transfer of training session. In the training session, the training group underwent twelve simulated slips using a moveable platform while the control group performed normal walking trials. Kinematic, kinetic, and EMG data were collected during all the sessions. Results indicated a reduced incidence of falls in the training group during the transfer of training trial as compared to the control group. The training group was able to transfer proactive and reactive control strategies learned during training to the second slip trial. The proactive adjustments include increased center-of-mass velocity and transitional acceleration after training. Reactive adjustments include reduction in muscle onset and time to peak activations of knee flexors and ankle plantar flexors, reduced ankle and knee coactivation, reduced slip displacement, and reduced time to peak knee flexion, trunk flexion, and hip flexion velocities. In general, the results indicated a beneficial effect of perturbation training in reducing slip severity and recovery kinematics in healthy older adults.

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