To summarize and critically evaluate the effects of Tai Chi on lower limb proprioception in adults older than 55.
Seven databases (Scopus, PubMed, Web of Science, SPORTDiscus, Cochrane Library, Wanfang, CNKI) were searched from inception until April 14, 2018.
Eleven randomized controlled trials were included for meta-analysis.
Two independent reviewers screened potentially relevant studies based on the inclusion criteria, extracted data, and assessed methodological quality of the eligible studies using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro).
The pooled effect size (standardized mean difference [SMD]) was calculated while the random-effects model was selected. Physiotherapy Evidence Database scores ranged from 5 to 8 points (mean=6.7). The study results showed that Tai Chi had significantly positive effects on lower limb joint proprioception. Effect sizes were moderate to large, including ankle plantar flexion (SMD=−0.55; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], −0.9 to −0.2; P=.002; I2=0%; n=162), dorsiflexion (SMD=−0.75; 95% CI, −1.11 to −0.39; P<.001; I2=0%; n=162), nondominant or left knee flexion (SMD=−0.71; 95% CI, −1.10 to −0.41; P<.001; I2=25.1%; n=266), dominant or right knee flexion (SMD=−0.82; 95% CI, −1.06 to −0.58; P<.001; I2=33.8%; n=464).
There is moderate to strong evidence that suggests that Tai Chi is an effective intervention to maintain and improve lower limb proprioception in adults older than 55. More robust multicenter studies including oldest-old participants, with longer follow-ups and validated outcome measures, are needed before a definitive conclusion is drawn.
List of abbreviations:95% CI (95% confidence interval), DF (dorsiflexion), PF (plantar flexion), RCT (randomized controlled trial), SMD (standardized mean difference), TTDPM (threshold to detection of passive motion)
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Published online: August 17, 2018
Supported by the Shuguang Program (Shanghai Education Development Foundation and Shanghai Municipal Education Commission) (grant no. 16SG45) and the Program for Professor of Special Appointment (Eastern Scholar) at Shanghai Institutions of Higher Learning.
© 2018 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine