The influence of age, muscle strength and speed of information processing on recovery responses to external perturbations in gait.

R. Senden*, H.H. Savelberg, J.J.M.E. Adam, B. Grimm, I.C. Heyligers, K. Meijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

86 Downloads (Pure)


Dynamic imbalance caused by external perturbations to gait can successfully be counteracted by adequate recovery responses. The current study investigated how the recovery response is moderated by age, walking speed, muscle strength and speed of information processing. The gait pattern of 50 young and 45 elderly subjects was repeatedly perturbed at 20% and 80% of the first half of the swing phase using the Timed Rapid impact Perturbation (TRiP) set-up. Recovery responses were identified using 2D cameras. Muscular factors (dynamometer) and speed of information processing parameters (computer-based reaction time task) were determined. The stronger, faster reacting and faster walking young subjects recovered more often by an elevating strategy than elderly subjects. Twenty three per cent of the differences in recovery responses were explained by a combination of walking speed (B=-13.85), reaction time (B=-0.82), maximum extension strength (B=0.01) and rate of extension moment development (B=0.19). The recovery response that subjects employed when gait was perturbed by the TRiP set-up was modified by several factors; the individual contribution of walking speed, muscle strength and speed of information processing was small. Insight into remaining modifying factors is needed to assist and optimise fall prevention programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-517
JournalGait & Posture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Cite this