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Elderly: Decreased Muscle Strength Predicts Functional Impairments

Elderly: Decreased Muscle Strength Predicts Functional Impairments

Photo: Old man crouching 

Decreased muscle strength is associated with difficulty in performing functional activities such as stooping, crouching, or kneeling (SCK) in older adults, according to an observational study.

Researchers found that adults with SCK difficulty had significant decreases in adjusted strength measurements of trunk extensor, knee extensor, and ankle flexion muscles. The study sets the stage for research exploring whether rehabilitation programs that focus on training specific muscle groups are effective in improving functional performance and whether improvements in functional performance reduces falls in older adults.

"As with standing up from a chair, stooping, crouching, and kneeling movements require coordination of the whole-body center of mass over a wide range of postures in order to prevent a loss of balance or fall," said physical therapist researcher Allon Goldberg, assistant professor in the Department of Health Care Sciences, Program in Physical Therapy, Mobility Research Laboratory, at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

The study's purpose was to compare trunk and lower-extremity muscle strength differences in older adults who had difficulty with stooping, crouching, or kneeling with older adults who did not have these difficulties. The study analyzed 48 community-dwelling older adults, over age 65, with and without self-reported SCK difficulty. Participants rated their ability to stoop, crouch, or kneel according to a 5-point difficulty scale and were tested on balance, strength, and fall-related measures.

Results suggest that older adults who reported trouble with basic stooping, crouching, or kneeling also had decreased strength in their legs. Researchers also discovered a relationship between SCK difficulty and both the level of strength and the ability to maintain proper balance. Findings suggest that in older adults, a major contributor to SCK difficulty is the strength of the distal leg musculature, which may provide a common link to balance. Future investigation will examine how other trunk and lower-extremity muscle strength may be related to these daily tasks.

"The results of this study may have important implications for clinicians working to reduce falls risk in older adults," Goldberg explained. "Rehabilitation or intervention programs aimed at addressing deficits in self-reported performance in stooping, crouching, or kneeling should focus on improving distal strength."

REHACARE.de; Source: American Physical Therapy Association

- More about the American Physical Therapy Association at www.apta.org

 
 

( Source: REHACARE.de )

 
 

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