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Melzer, I., Krasovsky, T., Oddsson, L. I. E., & Liebermann, D. G. (2010). Age-related differences in lower-limb force-time relation during the push-off in rapid voluntary stepping. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon), 25(10), 989–994.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: This study investigated the force-time relationship during the push-off stage of a rapid voluntary step in young and older healthy adults, to study the assumption that when balance is lost a quick step may preserve stability. The ability to achieve peak propulsive force within a short time is critical for the performance of such a quick powerful step. We hypothesized that older adults would achieve peak force and power in significantly longer times compared to young people, particularly during the push-off preparatory phase. METHODS: Fifteen young and 15 older volunteers performed rapid forward steps while standing on a force platform. Absolute anteroposterior and body weight normalized vertical forces during the push-off in the preparation and swing phases were used to determine time to peak and peak force, and step power. Two-way analyses of variance ('Group' [young-older] by 'Phase' [preparation-swing]) were used to assess our hypothesis (P </= 0.05). FINDINGS: Older people exerted lower peak forces (anteroposterior and vertical) than young adults, but not necessarily lower peak power. More significantly, they showed a longer time to peak force, particularly in the vertical direction during the preparation phase. INTERPRETATIONS: Older adults generate propulsive forces slowly and reach lower magnitudes, mainly during step preparation. The time to achieve a peak force and power, rather than its actual magnitude, may account for failures in quickly performing a preventive action. Such delay may be associated with the inability to react and recruit muscles quickly. Thus, training elderly to step fast in response to relevant cues may be beneficial in the prevention of falls.
Keywords: Accidental Falls/prevention & control; Age Factors; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Aging/physiology; *Biomechanics; Female; Gait/*physiology; Humans; Male; *Postural Balance; Walking/*physiology
Roijezon, U., Djupsjobacka, M., Bjorklund, M., Hager-Ross, C., Grip, H., & Liebermann, D. G. (2010). Kinematics of fast cervical rotations in persons with chronic neck pain: a cross-sectional and reliability study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord, 11, 222.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Assessment of sensorimotor function is useful for classification and treatment evaluation of neck pain disorders. Several studies have investigated various aspects of cervical motor functions. Most of these have involved slow or self-paced movements, while few have investigated fast cervical movements. Moreover, the reliability of assessment of fast cervical axial rotation has, to our knowledge, not been evaluated before. METHODS: Cervical kinematics was assessed during fast axial head rotations in 118 women with chronic nonspecific neck pain (NS) and compared to 49 healthy controls (CON). The relationship between cervical kinematics and symptoms, self-rated functioning and fear of movement was evaluated in the NS group. A sub-sample of 16 NS and 16 CON was re-tested after one week to assess the reliability of kinematic variables. Six cervical kinematic variables were calculated: peak speed, range of movement, conjunct movements and three variables related to the shape of the speed profile. RESULTS: Together, peak speed and conjunct movements had a sensitivity of 76% and a specificity of 78% in discriminating between NS and CON, of which the major part could be attributed to peak speed (NS: 226 +/- 88 degrees /s and CON: 348 +/- 92 degrees /s, p < 0.01). Peak speed was slower in NS compared to healthy controls and even slower in NS with comorbidity of low-back pain. Associations were found between reduced peak speed and self-rated difficulties with running, performing head movements, car driving, sleeping and pain. Peak speed showed reasonably high reliability, while the reliability for conjunct movements was poor. CONCLUSIONS: Peak speed of fast cervical axial rotations is reduced in people with chronic neck pain, and even further reduced in subjects with concomitant low back pain. Fast cervical rotation test seems to be a reliable and valid tool for assessment of neck pain disorders on group level, while a rather large between subject variation and overlap between groups calls for caution in the interpretation of individual assessments.
Keywords: Adult; Aged; Biomechanics/*physiology; Cervical Vertebrae/*physiopathology; Chronic Disease; Cross-Sectional Studies; Female; Head Movements/*physiology; Humans; Middle Aged; Neck Pain/*diagnosis/*etiology/physiopathology; Physical Examination/methods; Reproducibility of Results; Rotation/*adverse effects; Time Factors; Young Adult