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The Relationship Between Range of Movement, Flexibility, and Balance in the Elderly

Chiacchiero, Michael PT, DPT; Dresely, Bethany DPT; Silva, Udani DPT; DeLosReyes, Ramone DPT; Vorik, Boris DPT

Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation: April-June 2010 - Volume 26 - Issue 2 - p 148–155
doi: 10.1097/TGR.0b013e3181e854bc

This study investigated whether decreased passive lower extremity range of motion (ROM) and flexibility contribute to falls in the elderly. Eighteen subjects aged 60 years and older participated in the study. The subjects were divided into 2 categories, fallers and nonfallers. Both subject groups underwent ROM and flexibility testing of the lower extremity. A statistically significant decrease of ROM of hip extension, internal rotation, abduction, ankle dorsiflexion, and gastrocnemius length was found in the faller group as compared with the nonfaller group. The findings of this study suggest a link between decreased ROM and falls in the elderly and that addressing ROM deficits may decrease potential falls.

College of Staten Island, Staten Island, New York.

Corresponding Author: Michael Chiacchiero, PT, DPT, College of Staten Island, 2800 Victory Blvd, Staten Island, NY 10314 (

This research was completed in partial fulfillment for the doctorate in physical therapy degree (DPT) for the last 4 authors (B.D., U.S., R.D., and B.V.) from the College of Staten Island/Graduate Center of The City University of New York.

We thank Professors Maria Knikou, Zagloul Ahmed, and Jeff Rothman from the College of Staten Island for all their help, guidance, and support throughout the entire research process. We also thank the rehabilitation staff of Carmel Richmond Nursing Home, especially Alex Lakhter, and all subjects who volunteered in this study.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.