Effects of a walking program in patients with chronic unilateral vestibular hypofunction

J Phys Ther Sci. 2022 Feb;34(2):85-91. doi: 10.1589/jpts.34.85. Epub 2022 Feb 23.


[Purpose] Patients with chronic unilateral vestibular hypofunction show decreased postural stability and low levels of physical activity and also experience much anxiety. Physical activity is known to improve these symptoms; however, no study has reported any positive effects of physical activity, such as symptom reduction or improvement in function in these patients. In this study, we investigated the role of a walking program in improvement of dizziness, anxiety, and postural stability in this patient population. [Participants and Methods] This study included 21 patients with unilateral vestibular hypofunction and chronic dizziness. Patients were instructed to walk 30 min daily for 3 months. Physical activity levels and questionnaires for clinical symptoms, anxiety, and postural stability were evaluated before and after intervention. [Results] We observed significant differences in the amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, clinical symptoms, and self-perceived handicap before and after the intervention. Additionally, anxiety levels were significantly reduced and postural stability was significantly improved in these patients. [Conclusion] A walking program improved physical activity levels, clinical symptoms, and postural stability and reduced self-perceived handicap and anxiety in patients with chronic unilateral vestibular hypofunction. These results highlight the effectiveness of a walking program for these patients and emphasize its role as a complementary vestibular rehabilitation strategy.

Keywords: Postural stability; Vestibular rehabilitation; Walking program.