Aging and Gait

Kunal Singhal, Jeffrey B. Casebolt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Assessing gaits in older adults for the purposes of preventing falls, decreasing the risks of falls, and minimizing injuries from falls is a complex task. This complexity can be ascribed to the involvement of multiple body systems and requires a multipronged approach to understanding the effects of these systems on age-associated gait changes. Comprehend these effects is difficult without first delving into the mechanics of the elderly gait. Here we present a simpler approach to recognizing some of these multifaceted changes for practitioners and researchers alike. With advancing age, there are modifications in spatiotemporal, kinematic, and kinetic gait parameters that could increase the risk of falling. These age-associated changes in gait characteristics can be classified as changes in both propulsion and stability. A decrease in gait velocity as a result of less forceful ankle plantar flexor torque and greater hip contribution not only increases the likelihood of a fall but also alters the fall direction, which in itself increases the chances of a detrimental injury. Understanding the foot to floor relationship is vital because older adults tend to walk with more plantarflexion when compared to young adults. This increases the chance of tripping either by stubbing the toe during the swing phase when the foot's trajectory velocity is the greatest or catching the bottom of the shoe immediately prior to foot contact. Older adults tend to produce increased lateral movement in relation to their base of support when compared to young adults, thus affecting their stability. These observable characteristics of the elderly gait can be attributed to the underlying structural and physiological changes in the neuromuscular system. Therefore, the contributing factors of proprioception, vision, and vestibular system, as well as aging muscle, brain, and spinal cord, will be addressed to determine their contribution to a fall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNutrition and Functional Foods for Healthy Aging
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Pages65-74
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780128092996
ISBN (Print)9780128053768
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 22 2017

Fingerprint

Gait
Foot
Young Adult
Accidental Falls
Proprioception
Shoes
Wounds and Injuries
Torque
Toes
Mechanics
Biomechanical Phenomena
Ankle
Hip
Spinal Cord
Research Personnel
Muscles
Brain

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)
  • Health Professions(all)

Cite this

Singhal, K., & Casebolt, J. B. (2017). Aging and Gait. In Nutrition and Functional Foods for Healthy Aging (pp. 65-74). Elsevier Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-805376-8.00008-3

Aging and Gait. / Singhal, Kunal; Casebolt, Jeffrey B.

Nutrition and Functional Foods for Healthy Aging. Elsevier Inc., 2017. p. 65-74.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Singhal, K & Casebolt, JB 2017, Aging and Gait. in Nutrition and Functional Foods for Healthy Aging. Elsevier Inc., pp. 65-74. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-805376-8.00008-3
Singhal K, Casebolt JB. Aging and Gait. In Nutrition and Functional Foods for Healthy Aging. Elsevier Inc. 2017. p. 65-74 https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-805376-8.00008-3
Singhal, Kunal ; Casebolt, Jeffrey B. / Aging and Gait. Nutrition and Functional Foods for Healthy Aging. Elsevier Inc., 2017. pp. 65-74
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