Balance, falls, and bone health: role of exercise in reducing fracture risk after stroke

J Rehabil Res Dev. 2008;45(2):297-313. doi: 10.1682/jrrd.2007.01.0014.


Fractures occur frequently in people living with stroke and have high personal, social, and economic costs for these individuals, their families, and the community. Exercise to reduce the risk of fragility fractures is a relatively new application in stroke rehabilitation but is a promising treatment with the potential to reduce the incidence of falls as well as maintain or improve bone health. In this article, we outline fracture risk factors and provide an overview of exercise interventions aimed at reducing fracture risk poststroke. Although randomized controlled trials support the use of exercise to reduce fracture risk factors poststroke, the body of literature is small and further studies are required. Further, the optimal dose of exercise and the additive effects of pharmacology on fracture risk need to be determined. Given the many health benefits associated with exercise, it should be considered an important modality for the management of falls and maintenance of bone health following stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls*
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Fractures, Bone / etiology
  • Fractures, Bone / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology
  • Osteoporosis / rehabilitation*
  • Postural Balance*
  • Risk
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*