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What Are Otago Balance Exercises?

If you have been injured, ill, or are having difficulty moving around normally, you may benefit from the skilled services of a physical therapist at Capital Region Physical Therapy. Your PT can assess your condition and help you fully regain mobility.

One part of your evaluation with your physical therapist may be a balance assessment. Your PT can check to see if you are having trouble attaining and maintaining adequate balance for safe mobility. If your balance is impaired, you may benefit from a specific exercise program called Otago Balance Exercises to improve your ability to keep your balance.

Otago balance exercises were developed in New Zealand and include a specific set of exercises that are done in the PT clinic and at home. These exercises are designed to improve strength, proprioception, and mobility.

Components of the Otago program include:

  • Postural correction

  • Neck and low back mobility

  • Hip strength

  • Calf and anterior tibialis strength

  • Narrow-based standing

  • Single leg standing

  • Functional mobility tasks

The exercises can be tailored for your specific needs, and they are designed to progressively get more challenging as your balance improves.

Research indicates that falls can be reduced by 30 to 60% in older populations who perform the Otago program. Injury rates in Otago exercises have been shown to decrease by 28% as well, and 70% of people who learned the Otago program continued it for over one year.

If you have difficulty with balance and want to learn a self-care exercise program to improve your balance and safe mobility, give us a call at (518) 439-5006, or email Alyssa to set up an appointment. We'd be happy to help you improve your balance and safe functional mobility.

Source: Kocic M, Stojanovic Z, Nikolic D, et al. The effectiveness of group Otago exercise program on physical function in nursing home residents older than 65years: A randomized controlled trial. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2018;75:112-118. doi:10.1016/j.archger.2017.12.001


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