Identification of elderly fallers by muscle strength measures

M.A.G.M. Pijnappels, P.J. van der Burg, N.D. Reeves, J.H. van Dieen

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    171 Downloads (Pure)


    For efficient prevention of falls among older adults, individuals at a high risk of falling need to be identified. In this study, we searched for muscle strength measures that best identified those individuals who would fall after a gait perturbation and those who recovered their balance. Seventeen healthy older adults performed a range of muscle strength tests. We measured maximum and rate of development of ankle plantar flexion moment, knee extension moment and whole leg push-off force, as well as maximum jump height and hand grip strength. Subsequently, their capacity to regain balance after tripping over an obstacle was determined experimentally. Seven of the participants were classified as fallers based on the tripping outcome. Maximum isometric push-off force in a leg press apparatus was the best measure to identify the fallers, as cross-validation of a discriminant model with this variable resulted in the best classification (86% sensitivity and 90% specificity). Jump height and hand grip strength were strongly correlated to leg press force (r = 0.82 and 0.59, respectively) and can also be used to identify fallers, although with slightly lower specificity. These results indicate that whole leg extension strength is associated with the ability to prevent a fall after a gait perturbation and might be used to identify the elderly at risk of falling. © Springer-Verlag 2007.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)585-592
    JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    Dive into the research topics of 'Identification of elderly fallers by muscle strength measures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this