Elderly Balance Better After Foot Massages

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Researchers found that elderly people were able to balance on their feet better with foot massages.

Jacques Valiant and his group of fellow researchers from Grenoble, France and Geneva, Switzerland found that a session of plantar massage and joint mobilisation of the feet and ankles improves clinical balance performance tests in elderly people.

Dividing 28 subjects, aged between 65-95 years, into two groups:

1. An intervention group had a 20 minute session of massage and mobilisation to the feet and ankle,

2. A placebo group that was given an application of three demagnetized magnets in the region of the fifth metatarsal for 20 minutes.

The subjects were tested on their One Leg Balance (OLB), Timed Up and Go (TUG) and Lateral Reach performance. Results were compared between the two groups before and after the massage and application of the magnets.

The group who had massages and mobilisations showed significant improvements in performance of OLB and TUG. This is after one session of intervention.

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Massage and mobilisation of the feet and ankles in elderly adults: Effect on clinical balance performance, J Vaillant et al., Manual Therapy 2009;14:661-664