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Horse-riding simulation can be used in balance training for knee osteoarthritis

Study explored the use of simulated horse-riding exercises to help older people with osteoarthritis.

Study explored the use of simulated horse-riding exercises to help older people with osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis in the knee joint. Picture: Science Photo Library

Balance is important in the daily living activities of older people and greatly affects their quality of life. As a result of age-related changes, balance ability deteriorates and this can be a particular problem for people with arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that causes severe pain, limits range of movement and leads to muscle weakness, poor balance ability and a high risk of falls. Clinical treatment is focused mainly on reducing pain, but muscle strength and improving balance are also important to improve quality of life.

Balance improving

This study explored simulated horse riding as a means of improving balance in older people with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Previous studies have shown that horse riding can improve muscle strength, bone density, mental health and balance. In this experiment 15 people over the age of 65 and with osteoarthritis of the knee performed simulated horse-riding exercises. They used SlimRider equipment for 30 minutes three times a week for eight weeks. The participants were encouraged to maintain a correct horse-riding posture and exercise intensity was increased gradually.

A research assistant was always present to prevent falling. Results using two measurement scales showed improvement in functional ability and an increase in dynamic and static balance scores. This suggests that simulation can have the same benefits as riding horses while being more practical for therapists to use.

Kim S, HwangBo G (2017) The effects of horse-riding simulator exercise on balance in elderly with knee osteoarthritis. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 29, 3, 387-389.

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