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Long-term home exercise program: effect in women at high risk of fracture.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a better outcome in terms of physical frailty could be achieved with a regular home exercise program in women at high risk of fracture.

DESIGN: Prospective long-term observational study.

SETTING: Outpatient clinic of physical medicine and rehabilitation.

PARTICIPANTS: Women with a history of postmenopausal fractures and an age-adjusted low bone mass, as determined 7 to 12 years earlier.

INTERVENTION: Home exercise program.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Thirty-three women were followed. The exercise group and control group were compared with regard to fracture rates, episodes of falling, neuromuscular performance (one-leg stance, chair rise, body sway, tandem walk, tapping test), and bone mineral density (BMD).

RESULTS: Twenty-five women with a mean age of 73.8+/-5.7 yrs appeared for the investigation. An exercise program had been prescribed in 19 women, and six served as controls. Seven women of the exercise group (36.8%) regularly performed the exercises. No differences between participants of the groups in terms of fracture rates, falling episodes, neuromuscular performance, and BMD were observed.

CONCLUSION: It appears that a home exercise program does not affect the outcome of postmenopausal women at high risk of fracture.

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