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Combining Russian stimulation with isometric exercise improves strength, balance, and mobility in older people with falls syndrome

Sanjuán Vásquez, Myropea; Montes-Castillo, María de la Luza; Zapata-Altamirano, Leonor Eliab; Martínez-Torres, Saraa; Vázquez-Mellado, Janitziac; López López, Carlos Omara

International Journal of Rehabilitation Research: March 2019 - Volume 42 - Issue 1 - p 41–45
doi: 10.1097/MRR.0000000000000321
Original articles

One of the main causes of falls in older people is muscle strength loss associated with aging. Russian stimulation can improve muscle strength in healthy individuals, but the effect has never been tested in older individuals with falls syndrome. The aim of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of Russian stimulation plus isometric exercise to improve muscular strength, balance, and mobility in older people with falls syndrome. The recruited participants (older than 60 years, at least one fall in the past year) were evaluated by a physiatrist, who collected clinical data and performed baseline and final evaluations (muscle strength, Berg balance scale, Tinetti mobility test, get up and go test, and 6-min walk test). A physical therapist applied the 10/50/10 protocol for Russian stimulation, stimulating the quadriceps and tibialis anterior muscles separately; simultaneously, the participants performed isometric exercise at a frequency of three sessions per week for 12 weeks. Descriptive statistics, the paired-sample t-test, and the χ2-test were performed. The study included 25 participants (96% women, mean age 65.2±5.5 years). After the intervention, there was a significant improvement in the strength of the quadriceps (~30%) and tibialis anterior (~40%) muscles as well as the results of the balance (Tinetti 22%, Berg 10%) and mobility (get up and go 25%, 6-min distance 20%) tests. On the basis of the improvements in the Tinetti and Berg scores, significantly fewer participants were classified as being at increased risk for falls. The muscle strength correlated with several clinical evaluation results, but not with the Tinetti test score. Russian stimulation plus isometric exercise improves strength, balance, and mobility, which may decrease the fall risk.

aRehabilitation Department

bGeriatrics Department

cRheumatology Department, Hospital General de México, Dr Eduardo Liceaga, Ciudad de México, México

Correspondence to Carlos Omar López López, PhD, MD, Rehabilitation Department, Hospital General de México ‘Dr Eduardo Liceaga’, Dr Balmis148, Col Doctores, Del. Cuauhtémoc, CP 06726 Ciudad de México, México Tel: +52 552 789 2000 x6119; e-mail:

Received April 23, 2018

Accepted September 17, 2018

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