Ankle Proprioception Associated Gait Patterns in Older Adults: Results from the BLSA

Seung uk Ko, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Nandini Despande, Stephanie Studenski, Luigi Ferrucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


INTRODUCTION: Ankle proprioception training has been found to improve balance-related gait disorders; yet, 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 aged 60 – 95 evaluated in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) 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 in stratified analysis these associations were evident only in participants with impaired balance. CONCLUSION: Ankle proprioception in older persons with balance impairment may play a role in balance related gait disorders and should be targeted for intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jun 20 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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