The robustness of age-related gait adaptations: Can running counterbalance the consequences of ageing?

H.H.C.M. Savelberg*, L.B. Verdijk, P.J. Willems, K. Meijer

*Corresponding author for this work

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Previous studies showed age-related redistribution of joint torques from ankle joint plantar flexion to hip joint extension in gait. In the present study it was hypothesized that running can prevent the occurrence of this joint torque redistribution. Four groups of subjects participated in this study (young and elderly both physically active and inactive). All subjects walked at a comfortable, preferred velocity and at an imposed velocity of 1.5m/s. Kinematics of lower limb segments and ground reaction forces were assessed. Inverse dynamics method was applied to determine torques around ankle, knee and hip joints. A redistribution of joint torques from plantar flexion to hip joint extension was found to occur in both active and inactive elderly. However, the active elderly had a larger increase of the hip extension torque. By this they are able to maintain the support torque at the level of young subjects. Inactive elderly displayed reduced support torques. It is concluded that the age-related redistribution of joint torques is an important phenomenon. Frequent running does not prevent this shift. Active elderly increase this redistribution to compensate for muscle function reduction. AD - Department of Human Movement Science, Nutrition and Toxicology Research Institute Maastricht (NUTRIM), Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-266
JournalGait & Posture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

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