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Nintendo Wii Fit as an adjunct to physiotherapy following lower limb fractures: preliminary feasibility, safety and sample size considerations

Abstract

Objective

The Nintendo Wii Fit integrates virtual gaming with body movement, and may be suitable as an adjunct to conventional physiotherapy following lower limb fractures. This study examined the feasibility and safety of using the Wii Fit as an adjunct to outpatient physiotherapy following lower limb fractures, and reports sample size considerations for an appropriately powered randomised trial.

Methodology

Ambulatory patients receiving physiotherapy following a lower limb fracture participated in this study (n = 18). All participants received usual care (individual physiotherapy). The first nine participants also used the Wii Fit under the supervision of their treating clinician as an adjunct to usual care. Adverse events, fracture malunion or exacerbation of symptoms were recorded. Pain, balance and patient-reported function were assessed at baseline and discharge from physiotherapy.

Results

No adverse events were attributed to either the usual care physiotherapy or Wii Fit intervention for any patient. Overall, 15 (83%) participants completed both assessments and interventions as scheduled. For 80% power in a clinical trial, the number of complete datasets required in each group to detect a small, medium or large effect of the Wii Fit at a post-intervention assessment was calculated at 175, 63 and 25, respectively.

Conclusions

The Nintendo Wii Fit was safe and feasible as an adjunct to ambulatory physiotherapy in this sample. When considering a likely small effect size and the 17% dropout rate observed in this study, 211 participants would be required in each clinical trial group. A larger effect size or multiple repeated measures design would require fewer participants.

Cite this article

Nintendo Wii Fit as an adjunct to physiotherapy following lower limb fractures: preliminary feasibility, safety and sample size considerations.

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