Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Effect of whole-body vibration exercise in preventing falls and fractures: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  1. Ditte Beck Jepsen1,2,
  2. Katja Thomsen2,3,
  3. Stinus Hansen2,4,
  4. Niklas Rye Jørgensen5,6,
  5. Tahir Masud1,2,7,
  6. Jesper Ryg1,2
  1. 1 Department of Geriatric Medicine, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark
  2. 2 Institute of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
  3. 3 Department of Geriatric Medicine, Odense University Hospital, Svendborg, Denmark
  4. 4 Department of Endocrinology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark
  5. 5 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
  6. 6 OPEN—Odense Patient data Explorative Network, Odense University Hospital/ University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
  7. 7 Department of Geriatric Medicine, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to MD Ditte Beck Jepsen; ditte.beck.jepsen2{at}


Objective To investigate the effect of whole-body vibration exercise (WBV) on fracture risk in adults ≥50 years of age.

Design A systematic review and meta-analysis calculating relative risk ratios, fall rate ratio and absolute weighted mean difference using random effects models. Heterogeneity was estimated using I2 statistics, and the Cochrane Collaboration’s risk of bias tool and the GRADE approach were used to evaluate quality of evidence and summarise conclusions.

Data sources The databases PubMed, Embase and the Cochrane Central Register from inception to April 2016 and reference lists of retrieved publications.

Eligibility criteria for selecting studies Randomised controlled trials examining the effect of WBV on fracture risk in adults ≥50 years of age. The primary outcomes were fractures, fall rates and the proportion of participants who fell. Secondary outcomes were bone mineral density (BMD), bone microarchitecture, bone turnover markers and calcaneal broadband attenuation (BUA).

Results 15 papers (14 trials) met the inclusion criteria. Only one study had fracture data reporting a non-significant fracture reduction (risk ratio (RR)=0.47, 95% CI 0.14 to 1.57, P=0.22) (moderate quality of evidence). Four studies (n=746) showed that WBV reduced the rate of falls with a rate ratio of 0.67 (95% CI 0.50 to 0.89, P=0.0006; I2=19%) (moderate quality of evidence). Furthermore, data from three studies (n=805) found a trend towards falls reduction (RR=0.76, 95% CI 0.48 to 1.20, P=0.24; I2=24%) (low quality of evidence). Finally, moderate to low quality of evidence showed no overall effect on BMD and only sparse data were available regarding microarchitecture parameters, bone turnover markers and BUA.

Conclusions WBV reduces fall rate but seems to have no overall effect on BMD or microarchitecture. The impact of WBV on fractures requires further larger adequately powered studies. This meta-analysis suggests that WBV may prevent fractures by reducing falls.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42016036320; Pre-results.

  • whole-body vibration
  • wbv
  • exercise
  • fractures
  • accidental falls
  • meta-analysis

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

View Full Text

Statistics from


  • Contributors All authors helped in the conception and design of the work and interpretation of data. Three authors reviewed the papers (DBJ, KT and JR) and two authors extracted the data (DBJ, KT). DBJ, TM and JR did the first draft and all authors revised it critically for important intellectual content. All authors approved the final version for publication. DBJ is guarantor.

  • Funding This study was supported by funding from the Odense University Hospital, The Region of Southern Denmark PhD foundation, the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.