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Leg stiffness and electromyography of knee extensors/flexors: Comparison between older and younger adults during stair descent

Miao-Ju Hsu, PhD, et al.

Figure. Schematic of staircase used in stair descent trials.

Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalization and death in persons older than 65. The largest proportion of falls in older adults was reported to occur on stairs. Diminished functioning in many physiological systems is believed to contribute to falls. A smooth stair descent requires good coordination of the agonist and antagonist muscles surrounding the joint during the descent. Since both muscle strength and kinesthetic feedback diminish with age, older individuals may use a different control strategy to descend stairs than younger individuals do. We investigated the biomechanical differences between older and younger men during stair descent. The results showed that the older adults developed compensatory strategies for stair descent.

Volume 44 Number 3 2007
Pages 429 — 436

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