Journal Article

A 12-Year Follow-up Study of Ankle Muscle Function in Older Adults

Karen J. Winegard, Audrey L. Hicks, Digby G. Sale and Anthony A. Vandervoort

in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A

Published on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America

Volume 51A, issue 3, pages B202-B207
Published in print May 1996 | ISSN: 1079-5006
e-ISSN: 1758-535X | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gerona/51A.3.B202
A 12-Year Follow-up Study of Ankle Muscle Function in Older Adults

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The purpose of this study was to examine changes in strength over time in a cohort of healthy elderly people who underwent assessments of ankle muscle function 12 years earlier. The isometric strength and contractile characteristics of the dorsiflexors and plantarflexors were studied in 11 male and 11 female subjects, ranging from 73–97 yrs (mean age 84 ± 7.1 yrs). The same footplate apparatus was used as during the original testing. From 1982 to 1994, plantarflexor strength decreased 2.1% per year in females, and 2.5% per year in males (p < .01). The loss was relatively less in the dorsiflexor muscles; strength decreased 0.3% per year in females, and 0.8% per year in males (p> .05). There were no significant changes in evoked twitch torque in either muscle group, which may be due to the fact that passive tension of the connective tissue increased (p < .01) over the 12-year period. We conclude from this longitudinal assessment of ankle muscle function that the rate of loss of voluntary strength can vary considerably between antagonistic muscle groups. Factors influencing this variable loss warrant further investigation.

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Subjects: Geriatric Medicine ; Biological Sciences

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