Ankle musculature and postural stability in elderly fallers

What is the relationship between the ankle musculature and postural stability in elderly fallers?

Falls represent a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in elderly populations. A large body of evidence suggests that an age-related decrease in postural stability is a causative factor for falls amongst the elderly. It has been previously observed that standing postural stability is negatively correlated with maximum isometric torque at the ankle joint, indicating that weakness of the ankle musculature contributes to falls in the elderly. However, the specific relationship between this weakness and postural stability has not been described. The aim of this study was to establish if the mechanical contribution of ankle muscles in the upright stance differed between young adults (n=10), elderly non-fallers (n=12) and elderly fallers (n=20).

Simply put, the weaker the ankle musculature, the more relative torque was produced and the lower the postural stability. The results of this study suggest that rehab programs which aim to increase the maximum capacity of force produced by the ankle musculature, specifically the plantarflexors, may increase the postural stability of elderly populations at risk of falling.

> From: Cattagni et al., Exp Gerontol 77 (2017-02-16 08:39:25) 38-45 . All rights reserved to Elsevier Inc. Click here for the online summary.

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