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Effects of aging on the biomechanics of slips and falls

(2005) HUMAN FACTORS. 47(4). p.708-729
Author
Organization
Abstract
Although much has been learned in recent decades about the deterioration of muscular strength, gait adaptations, and sensory degradation among older adults, little is known about how these intrinsic changes affect biomechanical parameters associated with slip-induced fall accidents. In general, the objective of this laboratory study was to investigate the process of initiation, detection, and recovery of inadvertent slips and falls. We examined the initiation of and recovery from foot slips among three age groups utilizing biomechanical parameters, muscle strength, and sensory measurements. Forty-two young, middle-age, and older participants walked around a walking track at a comfortable pace. Slippery floor surfaces were placed on the track over force platforms at random intervals without the participants' awareness. Results indicated that younger participants slipped as often as the older participants, suggesting that the likelihood of slip initiation is similar across all age groups; however, older individuals' recovery process was much slower and less effective. The ability to successfully recover from a slip (thus preventing a fall) is believed to be affected by lower extremity muscle strength and sensory degradation among older individuals. Results from this research can help pinpoint possible intervention strategies for improving dynamic equilibrium among older adults.
Keywords
WALKING, BALANCE, PROPRIOCEPTION, RESPONSES, ELDERLY PERSONS, RISK-FACTORS, HIP-FRACTURES, FIBER-TYPE, AGE, SENSORY ORGANIZATION TEST

Citation

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Chicago
Lockhart, Thurmon E, JL Smith, and JC Woldstad. 2005. “Effects of Aging on the Biomechanics of Slips and Falls.” Human Factors 47 (4): 708–729.
APA
Lockhart, T. E., Smith, J., & Woldstad, J. (2005). Effects of aging on the biomechanics of slips and falls. HUMAN FACTORS, 47(4), 708–729.
Vancouver
1.
Lockhart TE, Smith J, Woldstad J. Effects of aging on the biomechanics of slips and falls. HUMAN FACTORS. 2005;47(4):708–29.
MLA
Lockhart, Thurmon E, JL Smith, and JC Woldstad. “Effects of Aging on the Biomechanics of Slips and Falls.” HUMAN FACTORS 47.4 (2005): 708–729. Print.
@article{1207172,
  abstract     = {Although much has been learned in recent decades about the deterioration of muscular strength, gait adaptations, and sensory degradation among older adults, little is known about how these intrinsic changes affect biomechanical parameters associated with slip-induced fall accidents. In general, the objective of this laboratory study was to investigate the process of initiation, detection, and recovery of inadvertent slips and falls. We examined the initiation of and recovery from foot slips among three age groups utilizing biomechanical parameters, muscle strength, and sensory measurements. Forty-two young, middle-age, and older participants walked around a walking track at a comfortable pace. Slippery floor surfaces were placed on the track over force platforms at random intervals without the participants' awareness. Results indicated that younger participants slipped as often as the older participants, suggesting that the likelihood of slip initiation is similar across all age groups; however, older individuals' recovery process was much slower and less effective. The ability to successfully recover from a slip (thus preventing a fall) is believed to be affected by lower extremity muscle strength and sensory degradation among older individuals. Results from this research can help pinpoint possible intervention strategies for improving dynamic equilibrium among older adults.},
  author       = {Lockhart, Thurmon E and Smith, JL and Woldstad, JC},
  issn         = {0018-7208},
  journal      = {HUMAN FACTORS},
  keywords     = {WALKING,BALANCE,PROPRIOCEPTION,RESPONSES,ELDERLY PERSONS,RISK-FACTORS,HIP-FRACTURES,FIBER-TYPE,AGE,SENSORY ORGANIZATION TEST},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {708--729},
  title        = {Effects of aging on the biomechanics of slips and falls},
  volume       = {47},
  year         = {2005},
}

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