Ankle proprioceptive information is integrated by the central nervous system to generate and modulate muscle contractions for maintaining standing balance. This study evaluated the association of ankle joint proprioception with objective and self-report measures of balance, mobility, and physical function across the adult life span. Seven hundred and ninety participants (age range 24–97 years, 362 women) who completed ankle proprioception assessment between 2010 and 2014 were included in the present study from the population-based cohort of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), USA. Outcome measures included ankle joint proprioception measured as threshold for perception of passive movement (TPPM); single leg stance time; perceived difficulty for standing balance; usual, fastest, and narrow-path gait speed; walking index; short physical performance battery score; and self-reported activity restriction due to fear of falling. Descriptive variables included age, sex, body mass index, education, strength, and cognition. Analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) in general linear model (GLM) or multinomial logistic regression analyses were performed, as appropriate, to test the hypothesis that balance, mobility, and physical function were significantly different according to TPPM quintiles even after adjusting for relevant covariates. Those with TPPM >2.2° consistently demonstrated poor balance, mobility, and physical function. However, with increase in challenge (single leg stance, fastest walking speed, and SPPB), TPPM >1.4° was associated with significantly worse performance. In conclusion, ankle proprioceptive acuity has an overall graded relationship with objective and self-report measures of balance, mobility, and physical function. However, the cutoff proprioceptive acuity associated with substantial decline or inability to perform could depend on the challenge induced.
- Ankle proprioception
- Gait speed
- Threshold for perception of passive movement
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology