Table of Contents
ISRN Rehabilitation
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 402612, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/402612
Research Article

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Improves Balance and Knee Extensors Strength of Older Fallers

1Posture and Gait Studies Laboratory, Physical Education Department, Bioscience Institute, Universidade Estadual Paulista at Rio Claro, Avenida 24A, 1515, 13506-900 Rio Claro, SP, Brazil
2Biomechanics Laboratory, Physical Education Department, Bioscience Institute, Universidade Estadual Paulista at Rio Claro, Avenida 24A, 1515, 13506-900 Rio Claro, SP, Brazil

Received 7 September 2012; Accepted 4 October 2012

Academic Editors: Y. Hu, M. Syczewska, and S. P. Tokmakidis

Copyright © 2012 Marcelo Pinto Pereira and Mauro Gonçalves. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Falls are one of the major problems for elderly people and proprioceptive exercises have been suggested as an alternative in rehabilitation and preventive programs. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of a proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) exercise program on balance, knee extension and flexion isometric torque, and knee extension rate of force development (RFD). Fourteen older faller subjects (>60 years) were equally assigned into two groups: a control group (CG: ) and a training group (TG: ). The PNF training program was performed for 10 weeks on TG, with a frequency of three times per week. Patients were assessed before and after the PNF program, with respect to balance (Berg Balance Scale score—BBS), knee maximal isometric extension and flexion torque, knee extensor RFD, and knee extensors and flexors neuromuscular activation level and coactivation level around the knee. After 10 weeks, balance () and knee extension torque () were improved in TG while no differences were found for CG. These improvements were mainly attributed to central nervous system adaptations, since no differences were found for neuromuscular activation level and coactivation.