Hip abductor weakness and balance control in older adults
About 30% of older adults fall at least once per year, and balance impairment in the mediolateral direction is suggested to be an important reason for such falls. Hip abductor muscles are involved in mediolateral balance control, while their strength decreases with aging. Therefore, in this study, we investigated whether older adults with higher hip abductor muscle strength and more accurate hip abductor proprioception have better balance control in the mediolateral direction.
We hypothesized that decreased hip abductor muscle strength and proprioception might worsen mediolateral balance control, and increase the risk of falling in older adults.
To test this idea, we correlated the hip abductor muscle strength and proprioception with mediolateral balance performance in older adults. The results showed that older adults with higher hip abductor activity had better balance performance. In addition, there was a correlation between hip muscle strength and proprioception accuracy and mediolateral balance control.
These findings indicate that hip abductor muscles are important for mediolateral balance control in older adults and hip abductor dysfunction in terms of muscle strength and proprioception may lead to impaired balance control and higher risk of falling in this population. Therefore, improving hip abductor neuromuscular capacity through rehabilitation programs might improve balance control and subsequently decrease fall risk, especially in older adults with impaired hip abductor muscles (e.g., due to stroke, hip osteoarthritis and hip surgery).
> From: Arvin et al., Clin Biomech 37 (2016) 27-33. All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd. Click here for the Pubmed summary.