Article

Postural control while dressing on two surfaces in the elderly.

Department of Physical Therapy, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.
Age (Impact Factor: 6.28). 06/2011; 33(2):187-96. DOI: 10.1007/s11357-010-9168-2
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Falling is a worldwide problem faced by the elderly, and it has serious consequences. The elderly falls in the bathroom very often, and this raises the concern of the connection between the high incidence of falls in the bathroom and postural control of putting on shorts. Because little is known about postural control while putting on shorts of any age group, this study investigated the effects of age and surface on postural control while putting on shorts. Healthy young adults (n =15; age range: 21-27 years) and the elderly participants (n = 15; age range: 63-78 years) were compared in the temporal-spatial parameters, movement of center of mass (COM), and its interactions with center of pressure (COP) and kinematic measures under two conditions: anti-slipping mat and tile. The results demonstrated that the elderly had lengthened cycle time, decreased single-limb-support ratio, decreased medial-lateral velocity of COM, decreased relative displacement between COM and COP, decreased hip abduction-adduction angle, knee flexion angle, and the height of foot elevation. The elderly demonstrated a conservative strategy that may reduce the mechanical load on the supporting limb but preserve medial-lateral balance during the task. The adopted strategy may be relevant to the reduction of muscle strength and proprioception loss during natural aging process. Although surface did not affect the motion patterns of participants while putting on shorts, the slippery surface should be avoided. Other environmental modification such as a grab bar and bright illumination may have advantages in reducing the risk of falls.

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