Arch support use for improving balance and reducing pain in older adults

Appl Nurs Res. 2008 Aug;21(3):153-8. doi: 10.1016/j.apnr.2006.08.006.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of arch supports on balance, functional mobility, and pain in the back and lower extremity joints among older adults.

Design: A single-factor within-subjects design was used.

Method: A convenience sample of older adults formed a single group for fitting with arch supports. Balance, functional mobility, and self-reported pain in the back and lower extremities were measured without the arch supports, immediately after the insertion of the supports in the subjects' shoes, and after 6 weeks of arch support use.

Findings: Sixty-seven older adults completed the study. The measures used indicated statistically significant improvements in scores for the Berg Balance Scale [Berg, K., Williams-Dauphinee, S., & Williams, J. I., (1995). The Balance Scale: Reliability assessment for elderly residents and patients with an acute stroke. Scandinavian Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 27, 27-31] and functional mobility [Timed Up and Go test; Podsiadlo, D., & Richardson, S. (1991). The Timed "Up and Go": A test of basic functional mobility for frail elderly persons. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 39, 142-148] as well as reduced back, foot, knee, and hip pain (p < .05). There was no statistically significant change in ankle pain (p > .05).

Implications: Knowledge of interventions that enhance health and well-being is essential for nurses. Arch supports may provide improved balance and functional mobility while reducing back and lower extremity joint pains. Further research is needed to support evidence-based practice.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthralgia / prevention & control*
  • Back Pain / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orthotic Devices*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Postural Balance*
  • Shoes*
  • Southeastern United States