Background: Increasing age and the added disadvantage of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) put the individual at a higher risk of falls and reduced functional fitness. However, there is a dearth of literature on multifactorial balance intervention, especially targeting the needs of older adults with DPN.
Objective: The current study aimed to determine the effect of a multifactorial balance rehabilitation program on fall risk and functional fitness in older adults with DPN.
Methods: In this pre-post experimental study, 30 independently ambulating older adults (71.2 ± 4.70 years) with DPN, who were at risk of falling (timed up and go score ≥ 9.4 seconds), were recruited. Along with the standard care, all the participants received 12 weeks of the multifactorial balance rehabilitation program.
Results: Fall risk using the Fullerton Advanced Balance scale and functional fitness using the Senior Fitness Test were measured at baseline and after 12 weeks of the intervention. The intervention reduced the risk of falling score significantly (MD = 6.17, p < .001). All six parameters of functional fitness improved after 12 weeks of intervention. The improvement in lower limb strength (MD = 1.53 times), upper limb strength (MD = 2.48 times), endurance (MD = 16.07 seconds), lower limb flexibility (MD = 2.02 inches), upper limb flexibility (MD = 1.47 inches), and dynamic balance (MD = 1.53 seconds) was statistically significant at p < 0.05.
Conclusion: This study provided encouraging evidence about the potential of multifactorial balance rehabilitation to reduce the risk of falling and improve functional fitness in older adults with DPN.
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