Effects of Tai Chi on Postural Control during Dual-task Stair Negotiation
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January 27, 2020 - Stair ascent and descent require complex integration between sensory and motor systems; individuals with knee osteoarthritis (KOA) have an elevated risk for falls and fall injuries, which may be in part due to poor dynamic postural control during locomotion. Tai Chi exercise has been shown to reduce fall risks in the ageing population and is recommended as one of the non-pharmacological therapies for people with KOA. However, neuromuscular mechanisms underlying the benefits of Tai Chi for persons with KOA are not clearly understood. Postural control deficits in performing a primary motor task may be more pronounced when required to simultaneously attend to a cognitive task.
A new randomized controlled trial (RCT) collaborated by scientists from China, New Zealand, U.K. and the U.S. aims to evaluate the effects of a 12-week Tai Chi program versus balance and postural control training on neuromechanical characteristics during dual-task stair negotiation.
Sixty-six participants with KOA will be randomized into either Tai Chi or balance and postural control training, each at 60?min per session, twice weekly for 12 weeks. Assessed at baseline and 12 weeks (ie, postintervention), the primary outcomes are attention cost and dynamic postural stability during dual-task stair negotiation. Secondary outcomes include balance and proprioception, foot clearances, self-reported symptoms and function. A telephone follow-up to assess symptoms and function will be conducted at 20 weeks. The findings will help determine whether Tai Chi is beneficial on dynamic stability and in reducing fall risks in older adults with KOA patients in community.