Introduction Ankle proprioception training has been found to improve balance-related gait disorders; however, the relationship between ankle proprioception and specific gait patterns in older adults with and without impaired balance has not been systematically examined. Methods This study characterizes gait patterns of 230 older adults age 60-95 yr evaluated in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging gait laboratory with (n = 82) and without impaired balance (inability to successfully complete a narrow walk) and examines ankle proprioception performance. Results Participants with impaired balance had a higher angle threshold for perceiving ankle movement than those without impaired balance even after controlling for the substantial age difference between groups (P = 0.017). Gait speed, stride length, hip and ankle range of motion, and mechanical work expenditure from the knee and ankle were associated with ankle proprioception performance (P < 0.050 for all) in the full sample, but these associations were evident only in participants with impaired balance in stratified analysis. Conclusion Ankle proprioception in older persons with balance impairment may play a role in balance-related gait disorders and should be targeted for intervention.
- ANKLE PROPRIOCEPTION
- BLSA GAIT LAB
- IMPAIRED BALANCE IN GAIT
- MECHANICAL WORK EXPENDITURE
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation