Effects of tai chi on postural control during dual-task stair negotiation in knee osteoarthritis: A randomised controlled trial protocol

Xiangbin Wang, Meijin Hou, Shaoqing Chen, Jiao Yu, Dalu Qi, Yanxin Zhang, Bo Chen, Feng Xiong, Shengxing Fu, Zhenhui Li, Fengjiao Yang, Alison Chang, Anmin Liu, Xuerong Xie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction Stair ascent and descent require complex integration between sensory and motor systems; individuals with knee osteoarthritis (KOA) have an elevated risk for falls and fall injuries, which may be in part due to poor dynamic postural control during locomotion. Tai chi exercise has been shown to reduce fall risks in the ageing population and is recommended as one of the non-pharmocological therapies for people with KOA. However, neuromuscular mechanisms underlying the benefits of tai chi for persons with KOA are not clearly understood. Postural control deficits in performing a primary motor task may be more pronounced when required to simultaneously attend to a cognitive task. This single-blind, parallel design randomised controlled trial (RCT) aims to evaluate the effects of a 12-week tai chi programme versus balance and postural control training on neuromechanical characteristics during dual-task stair negotiation. Methods and analysis Sixty-six participants with KOA will be randomised into either tai chi or balance and postural control training, each at 60 min per session, twice weekly for 12 weeks. Assessed at baseline and 12 weeks (ie, postintervention), the primary outcomes are attention cost and dynamic postural stability during dual-task stair negotiation. Secondary outcomes include balance and proprioception, foot clearances, self-reported symptoms and function. A telephone follow-up to assess symptoms and function will be conducted at 20 weeks. The findings will help determine whether tai chi is beneficial on dynamic stability and in reducing fall risks in older adults with KOA patients in community. Ethics and dissemination Ethics approval was obtained from the Ethics Committee of the Affiliated Rehabilitation Hospital of Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (#2018KY-006-1). Study findings will be disseminated through presentations at scientific conferences or publications in peer-reviewed journals. Trial registration number ChiCTR1800018028.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere033230
JournalBMJ open
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020


  • balance intervention
  • dynamic stability
  • knee osteoarthritis
  • stair ascent
  • stair descent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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