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Variable Surface Training and Fall Risk in the Older Adult

A Literature Review

Kogler, Katherine, PT, DPT, NCS; Howard, Natalie, PT, DPT, GCS; Schumacher, Margaret, PT, DPT, GCS; Knight, Heather, PT, DPT, NCS, CBIS

doi: 10.1097/TGR.0000000000000193
Interprofessional Views on Geriatric Rehabilitation and Health

Context: Variable surface balance training is frequently used as a rehabilitative intervention.

Objective: To determine the effects of variable surface training on fall risk in the older adult and begin to explore evidence-based exercise parameters to drive clinical practice.

Study Selection: A search on PubMed and CINAHL in March 2016 resulted in 8 randomized control trials to include in this literature review.

Results: All studies reported statistically significant improvements on at least one outcome measure following variable surface training.

Conclusion: All health care professionals can refer older adults at risk for falls to physical therapy to help prevent falls before they occur.

UC Health Memorial Hospital, Colorado Springs, Colorado (Dr Kogler); Centex Rehab, Apple Valley, Minnesota (Dr Howard); and Department of Physical Therapy, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska (Drs Schumacher and Knight).

Correspondence: Heather Knight, PT, DPT, NCS, CBIS, Department of Physical Therapy, Creighton University, 2500 California Plaza, Omaha, NE 68178 (

Research was completed while all authors were affiliated with the Department of Physical Therapy, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

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