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Ageing effects on knee and ankle joint angles at key events and phases of the gait cycle.

J Med Eng Technol.  2006; 30(6):382-9 (ISSN: 0309-1902)

Begg RK ; Sparrow WA
Centre for Ageing, Rehabilitation, Exercise & Sport, Victoria University, City Flinders Campus, Melbourne, Victoria, 8001, Australia.

The objective of this research was to determine whether joint angles at critical gait events and during major energy generation/absorption phases of the gait cycle would reliably discriminate age-related degeneration during unobstructed walking. The gaits of 24 healthy adults (12 young and 12 elderly) were analysed using the PEAK Motus motion analysis system. The elderly participants showed significantly greater single (60.3% versus 62.3%, p < 0.01) and double ( p < 0.05) support times, reduced knee flexion (47.7 degrees versus 43.0 degrees , p < 0.05) and ankle plantarflexion (16.8 degrees compared to 3.3 degrees , p = 0.053) at toe off, reduced knee flexion during push-off and reduced ankle dorsiflexion (16.8 degrees compared to 22.0 degrees , p < 0.05) during the swing phase. The plantarflexing ankle joint motion during the stance to swing phase transition (A2) for the young group (31.3 degrees ) was about twice ( p < 0.05) that of the elderly (16.9 degrees ). Reduced knee extension range of motion suggests that the elderly favoured a flexed-knee gait to assist in weight acceptance. Reduced dorsiflexion by the elderly in the swing phase implies greater risk of toe contact with obstacles. Overall, the results suggest that joint angle measures at critical events/phases in the gait cycle provide a useful indication of age-related degeneration in the control of lower limb trajectories during unobstructed walking.

  • PreMedline Identifier: 17060166