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The Effects of a Pilates-Based Exercise Rehabilitation Program on Functional Outcome and Fall Risk Reduction in an Aging Adult Status-Post Traumatic Hip Fracture due to a Fall

Stivala, Adam PT, DPT, GCS1; Hartley, Greg PT, DPT, GCS1,2

Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy: July/September 2014 - Volume 37 - Issue 3 - p 136–145
doi: 10.1519/JPT.0b013e3182abe7a9
Case Report

Background: Currently, little information describing the relationship of Pilates-based strength and stability exercises with fall risk in the geriatric population exists.

Purpose: The purpose of this report was to examine the impact of a Pilates-based rehabilitation (PBR) program on reducing fall risk in an aging adult status postfall with resulting hip fracture and open reduction and internal fixation.

Case Description: The patient was an 84-year-old woman admitted to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) after a right hip fracture resulting from a fall at home. The patient's relevant medical history included frequent falls due to loss of balance, a previous left hip fracture with resultant arthroplasty, and a stroke roughly 20 years prior. The patient received physical therapy and occupational therapy 6 days per week for 26 days in an SNF. The physical therapy intervention consisted of gait and transfer training, neuromuscular reeducation, and an adjunct of specialized PBR exercises for the following impairments: decreased core strength and awareness and poor dynamic stabilization during functional activities.

Outcomes: The patient demonstrated increases in lower extremity strength and active range of motion, ambulation distance and speed, and transfer ability. The patient was able to return home and live with her husband while requiring only incidental assistance with activities of daily living. She was able to independently ambulate around her home with her rolling walker. Her fall risk was also reduced from initial evaluation based on several fall risk assessments, including the Four Square Step Test, the Berg Balance Scale, and the Timed Up and Go.

Conclusion: This case illustrates the benefit of integrating PBR exercises into a standard SNF rehabilitation program, which may contribute to decreased fall risk.

1Rehabilitation Department, St Catherine's Rehabilitation Hospital, North Miami, Florida.

2University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida.

Address correspondence to: Greg Hartley, PT, DPT, GCS, Rehabilitation Department, St Catherine's Rehabilitation Hospital, 1050 NE 125th St, North Miami, FL 33161 (

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Decision editor: Richard Bohannon

Copyright © 2014 the Section on Geriatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association