This study provides normal baselines of knee muscle strength for women up to 86 years of age. Knee muscle strength (torque) was measured during maximum isometric and dynamic (isokinetic) contractions in 72 normal healthy women in three age groups between 20 and 86 years. Strength of the oldest group ranged from 56 to 78% of that in the youngest group, depending on knee joint position. Strength values were greater for isometric contractions than for isokinetic contractions (performed at 36° per second) and were approximately twice as great for the extensor as for the flexor muscles. For both muscle groups, the torque generated with the knee in 30° of flexion was usually lower than that generated with the knee at the 45- or 60-degree position. Despite the significant deficit found in the strength of the oldest group, it is likely that this relative weakness would not be detected on routine clinical examination using manual muscle testing.
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