Riley, Patrick O. and Della Croce, Ugo and Kerrigan, D. Casey (2001) Effect of age on lower extremity joint moment contributions to gait speed. Gait & Posture, Vol. 14 (3), p. 264-270. eISSN 1879-2219. Article.
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We investigated the relationship of hip, knee and ankle function to gait speed in healthy elderly subjects. We hypothesized that the hip extension moment would make a significantly smaller contribution to propulsion power in the elderly than in healthy young subjects even when the elders were ambulating at speeds comparable to those of the young subjects. We analyzed the free speed gait of 16 young and 14 elderly subjects, and the fast gait of the elder subjects. In elderly subjects free speed gait linear power transfer from the leg to the upper body due to the hip and knee moments was decreased compared with young subjects walking at their normal gait speed. However, when asked to walk fast, elders significantly increase knee and hip moment contributions to hip linear power to levels comparable to those of young subjects at a similar speed. These results refute our hypothesis and support our earlier findings indicating that kinematic alterations at the hip are a cause of reduced gait speed in the elderly.
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