Examination of Factors Affecting Gait Properties in Healthy Older Adults: Focusing on Knee Extension Strength, Visual Acuity, and Knee Joint Pain

Demura, Tomohiro PhD; Demura, Shin-ichi PhD; Uchiyama, Masanobu PhD; Sugiura, Hiroki PhD

Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy: April/June 2014 - Volume 37 - Issue 2 - p 52–57
doi: 10.1519/JPT.0b013e318295daba
Research Reports

Background and Purpose: Gait properties change with age because of a decrease in lower limb strength and visual acuity or knee joint disorders. Gait changes commonly result from these combined factors. This study aimed to examine the effects of knee extension strength, visual acuity, and knee joint pain on gait properties of for 181 healthy female older adults (age: 76.1 (5.7) years).

Methods: Walking speed, cadence, stance time, swing time, double support time, step length, step width, walking angle, and toe angle were selected as gait parameters. Knee extension strength was measured by isometric dynamometry; and decreased visual acuity and knee joint pain were evaluated by subjective judgment whether or not such factors created a hindrance during walking.

Results: Among older adults without vision problems and knee joint pain that affected walking, those with superior knee extension strength had significantly greater walking speed and step length than those with inferior knee extension strength (P < .05). Persons with visual acuity problems had higher cadence and shorter stance time. In addition, persons with pain in both knees showed slower walking speed and longer stance time and double support time.

Conclusion: A decrease of knee extension strength and visual acuity and knee joint pain are factors affecting gait in the female older adults. Decreased knee extension strength and knee joint pain mainly affect respective distance and time parameters of the gait.

1Child Education, Jin-ai Women's College, Fukui, Fukui, Japan.

2Graduate School of Natural Science & Technology, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan.

3Akita Prefectural University, Shimoshinjo-Nakano, Akita, Japan.

Address correspondence to: Tomohiro Demura, PhD, Child Education, Jin-ai Women's College, Amaike, Fukui, Fukui 910-0134, Japan (tomodemu@jin-ai.ac.jp).

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Research funds were not provided by any institution.

© 2014 Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy, APTA