The aim of this study was to examine the effects of 5 days of anodal-transcranial direct current stimulation (a-tDCS) over the primary motor cortex (M1) on lower extremity functional performance in healthy elderly people. This was a randomized, double-blinded, sham-controlled study whereby 32 healthy older individuals participated in two groups. The intervention group received 20 min of a-tDCS (1 mA) over the M1 on five consecutive days. The sham group received the same stimulation, but the tDCS device was turned off after 30 s of stimulation. Participants were asked to perform the Timed Up and Go (TUG), 30-s Chair Stand Test (30-s CST), and a Modified Figure of Eight Walk Test (MFEWT) on the first day before tDCS application, immediately, 30 min, and 1 week after the last session of stimulation. Results of the a-tDCS group showed that most of the test values had significant changes in post-test assessments compared to the pre-test (p < 0.05). When comparing the anodal and sham tDCS groups, the results showed a significant improvement in TUG and time-MFEWT immediately after (p = 0.02, p = 0.01), 30 min after (p = 0.04, p = 0.01) and 1 week after the last session of stimulation (p = 0.01, p = 0.01). Improvements in performance of the 30-s CST and the number of steps-MFEWT were not significant, except at 1 week after the last session for the steps-MFEWT (p = 0.04). The application of 20 min a-tDCS over the M1 for 5 consecutive days improves lower extremity functional performance in the healthy older participants.
- Lower extremity functional performance
- Older adults
- Transcranial direct current stimulation