Lower-limb muscle function in healthy young and older adults across a range of walking speeds

Journal article


Lim, Yoong Ping, Lin, Yi-Chung and Pandy, Marcus G.. (2022). Lower-limb muscle function in healthy young and older adults across a range of walking speeds. Gait & Posture. 94, pp. 124-130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2022.03.003
AuthorsLim, Yoong Ping, Lin, Yi-Chung and Pandy, Marcus G.
Abstract

Background
Previous studies have compared the functional roles of the individual lower-limb muscles when healthy young and older adults walk at their self-selected speeds. No age-group differences were observed in ankle muscle forces and ankle muscle contributions to support and progression. However, older adults displayed higher gluteus maximus (hip extensor) muscle forces and greater contributions to support during early stance. There are no data that describe the functions of the individual lower-limb muscles in healthy older adults for walking at speeds other than the self-selected speed.

Research question
How does walking speed affect the functional roles of the individual lower-limb muscles in healthy older adults?

Methods
Three-dimensional gait data were recorded for 10 healthy young and 10 healthy older adults walking at slow, normal, and fast speeds (0.7 m/s, 1.4 m/s, and 1.7 m/s, respectively). Both groups walked at the same speed at each condition. The experimental data were combined with a full-body musculoskeletal model to calculate and compare muscle forces and muscle contributions to the vertical, fore-aft, and mediolateral ground reaction forces (support, progression, and balance, respectively) in both groups.

Results
Lower-limb muscle function was similar in young and older adults when both groups walked at the same speed at each condition. The same five muscles - gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, vasti, gastrocnemius, and soleus – contributed most significantly to support, progression, and balance in both groups at all speeds. However, gluteus maximus generated greater support and braking forces during early stance and gastrocnemius contributed less to forward propulsion during late stance at all speeds in the older group.

Significance
These results provide further insight into the functional roles of the individual lower-limb muscles of older adults during walking and could inform the design of exercise programs aimed at improving support and balance in those at risk of falling.

Keywordselderly gait; support; progression; balance; musculoskeletal model
Year2022
JournalGait & Posture
Journal citation94, pp. 124-130
PublisherElsevier B.V.
ISSN0966-6362
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2022.03.003
PubMed ID35305479
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85126515515
Page range124-130
FunderAustralian Research Council (ARC)
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online08 Mar 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted04 Mar 2022
Deposited03 Mar 2023
ARC Funded ResearchThis output has been funded, wholly or partially, under the Australian Research Council Act 2001
Grant IDDP160104366
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