Martial arts training could reduce hip fractures

Teaching the elderly how to fall properly by the use of martial arts training could yield significant benefits according to new research.

Osteoporosis is a well-established risk factor for fall-related hip fractures and teaching fall arrest strategies such as those practiced in martial arts, might be useful in preventing hip fractures in persons with osteoporosis, provided that the training itself is safe.

Brenda Groen worked with a team of researchers from the Sint Maartenskliniek, Nijmegen, to study the effects of fall training in six healthy people.

She said, “For obvious safety reasons, this could not be directly assessed using persons with osteoporosis, so we measured the hip impact forces during the martial arts fall exercises in a group of young adults.

Based on our results, however, we believe that fall training would be safe for persons with osteoporosis if they wear hip protectors during the training, perform fall exercises on a thick mattress and avoid forward fall exercises from a standing position.”

Using a force platform, the researchers were able to measure the force of each fall and compare this to known information about the amount of impact a patient with osteoporosis can withstand.

The falls taught in this study all involved turning a fall into a rolling movement by bending and twisting the trunk and neck, and it is possible for older people to learn these impact-reducing techniques.

Source: BMC Research Notes
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