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Decreased muscle strength predicts functional impairments in older adults
Date:2/1/2010

ALEXANDRIA, VA Decreased muscle strength is associated with difficulty in performing functional activities such as stooping, crouching, or kneeling (SCK) in older adults, according to an observational study published in the January issue of Physical Therapy (PTJ), the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). These researchers found that adults with SCK difficulty had significant decreases in adjusted strength measurements of trunk extensor, knee extensor, and ankle flexion muscles. Concluding that measurements of strength predict SCK difficulty, their study sets the stage for research exploring whether rehabilitation programs that focus on training specific muscle groups are effective in improving functional performance and whether improvements in functional performance reduces falls in older adults.

Bending down and kneeling are fundamental tasks of daily living. Other researchers have suggested that older adults with SCK difficulty are more likely to have limitations in other lower-body functional tasks, such as lifting and prolonged standing. "As with standing up from a chair, stooping, crouching, and kneeling movements require coordination of the whole-body center of mass over a wide range of postures in order to prevent a loss of balance or fall," said physical therapist researcher and APTA member Allon Goldberg, PT, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Health Care Sciences, Program in Physical Therapy, Mobility Research Laboratory, at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. "More research is needed, but it is reasonable to predict that a physical therapy program to improve strength in older adults who have difficulty performing basic stooping, crouching, or kneeling movements could lead to improvements in performing these activities, and these improvements could be associated with reduced number of falls." The study was conducted when Goldberg was a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of
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Contact: Jennifer Rondon
jenniferrondon@apta.org
703-706-3216
American Physical Therapy Association
Source:Eurekalert

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