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Improved Training Program for Fall Prevention of Warfighters with Lower Extremity Trauma

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[Technical Report, Final Report]

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Recent military conflicts have resulted in a significant number of lower extremity injuries to U.S. Service members that result in amputation or limb preservation procedures. Service members with lower extremity trauma are receiving comprehensive care with the overarching goal of achieving the highest level of function and readiness. However, after standard rehabilitation, many warfighters still struggle with falls, which can exacerbate physical and emotional injury and delay healing. The goals of this research effort were to augment existing rehabilitation with a novel, fall-prevention training method to help warfighters return to full high-level functional capabilities and emotional wellness. Forty-five service members 40 males mean SD age34 8 years with lower limb trauma 20 trans-tibial amputation 6 transfemoral amputation 5 bilateral trans-tibial amputation 14 limb salvage were recruited. The training program used a microprocessor-controlled treadmill designed to deliver task-specific postural perturbations that simulated a trip. The training consisted of six 30-minute sessions delivered over a two-week period, during which task difficulty, including perturbation magnitude, increased as the participants ability progressed. Repeated testing prior to training revealed that there were no differences in trunk control prior to training. The training program resulted in improved trunk control. The skills were retained three and six months after training. The entire cohort of participants reported 2 0-4 fallsmonth before training. The fall rate decreased to 1 0-2 fallmonth after trainingp0.11, and then continued to decrease to 0 0-2 fallsmonth at three- and six-months post training p0.02.


Subject Categories:

  • Medicine and Medical Research

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]