Effects of aging on the biomechanics of slips and falls

Thurmon E. Lockhart, James L. Smith, Jeffrey C Woldstad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

80 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although much has been learned in recent decades about the deterioration of muscular strength, gait adaptations, and sensory degradation among older adults, little is known about how these intrinsic changes affect biomechanical parameters associated with slip-induced fall accidents. In general, the objective of this laboratory study was to investigate the process of initiation, detection, and recovery of inadvertent slips and falls. We examined the initiation of and recovery from foot slips among three age groups utilizing biomechanical parameters, muscle strength, and sensory measurements. Forty-two young, middle-age, and older participants walked around a walking track at a comfortable pace. Slippery floor surfaces were placed on the track over force platforms at random intervals without the participants' awareness. Results indicated that younger participants slipped as often as the older participants, suggesting that the likelihood of slip initiation is similar across all age groups; however, older individuals' recovery process was much slower and less effective. The ability to successfully recover from a slip (thus preventing a fall) is believed to be affected by lower extremity muscle strength and sensory degradation among older individuals. Results from this research can help pinpoint possible intervention strategies for improving dynamic equilibrium among older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-729
Number of pages22
JournalHuman Factors
Volume47
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005

Fingerprint

Accidental Falls
Biomechanics
Muscle Strength
Biomechanical Phenomena
Age Groups
Aging of materials
Recovery
Muscle
Gait
Walking
Accidents
Foot
age group
Lower Extremity
Degradation
Deterioration
intervention strategy
Research
accident
ability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Lockhart, T. E., Smith, J. L., & Woldstad, J. C. (2005). Effects of aging on the biomechanics of slips and falls. Human Factors, 47(4), 708-729. https://doi.org/10.1518/001872005775571014

Effects of aging on the biomechanics of slips and falls. / Lockhart, Thurmon E.; Smith, James L.; Woldstad, Jeffrey C.

In: Human Factors, Vol. 47, No. 4, 01.12.2005, p. 708-729.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lockhart, TE, Smith, JL & Woldstad, JC 2005, 'Effects of aging on the biomechanics of slips and falls', Human Factors, vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 708-729. https://doi.org/10.1518/001872005775571014
Lockhart, Thurmon E. ; Smith, James L. ; Woldstad, Jeffrey C. / Effects of aging on the biomechanics of slips and falls. In: Human Factors. 2005 ; Vol. 47, No. 4. pp. 708-729.
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