Balance, gait, functionality and strength: comparison between elderly fallers and non-fallers.


Cebolla EC, Rodacki AL, Bento PC. Balance, gait, functionality and strength:
comparison between elderly fallers and non-fallers. Braz J Phys Ther. 2015
Mar-Apr;19(2):146-51.

Abstract

Background

Accidental falls are a major health problem related to aging and affect one in every three elderly individuals over the age of sixty.

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate and compare the muscle strength, gait kinematics parameters, and performance in functional tests between elderly subjects with and without a prior history of falls. In addition, the association between the history of falls and the variables that demonstrated differences between groups were tested.

METHOD

62 elderly subjects participated in the study and were allocated to the group with falls history (FG; n=20; 68.0±6.9 years old) or the group without falls history (CG; n=42; 65.5±4.1 years old). Maximal strength, gait kinematics parameters, and functional tests were tested.

RESULTS

The FG showed lower muscle strength in the knee flexors (51.45±8.6 vs. 62.09±19 Kg), lower average toe clearance during the swing phase (0.04±0.006 vs. 0.043 ± 0.005 m), and lower performance in the "8-foot up-and-go" test (5.3±0.7 vs. 5.8±0.7 s) (p<0.05). There were no associations between any variables and falls, but the increased time in the "8-foot up-and-go" test may double the likelihood of a fall occurring.

CONCLUSION

Fallers have reduced lower limb strength, gait alterations, the worst performance in the dynamic balance test, and an increased risk of falls.


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