Inadvertent obstacle contacts when older adults step over obstacles: Effect of sex, self-reported fatigue, gait parameters, and prescription medications

Authors

  • Timothy Becker Department of Health and Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America; Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States of America - [email protected]
  • Shirley Rietdyk Department of Health and Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America; Center on Aging and the Life Course, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.20338/bjmb.v16i4.317

Keywords:

Adaptive gait, Fall risk, Gait variability, Gait speed , Obstacle crossing

Abstract

Background: Tripping is a common cause of falls, but the factors that are associated with trip risk are understudied.

Aim: To quantify inadvertent trips with a stationary, visible obstacle in older adults, and to determine how inadvertent trips are related to fatigue, sex, gait measures, and prescription medications.

Methods: Forty-one subjects walked on a 6 m walkway and stepped over a visible, stationary obstacle (height: 25% of leg length) 100 times; inadvertent trips with the obstacle were documented. We also collected gait measures on a clear walkway, self-reported fatigue every 25 obstacle crossing trials, and number of prescription medications. Participants were categorized as: 0 contacts or ≥1 contact.

Results: The obstacle was contacted by 15 participants (37%) in 29 trials (0.7% of all trials); 52% of contacts were with the lead limb. Self-reported fatigue increased during the obstacle crossing protocol (p<0.001). Participants in the ≥1 contact group had slower gait speed, shorter stride length, and higher gait cycle time variability (p≤0.041). They also reported higher maximum fatigue (p=0.022) and a higher number of prescription medications (p=0.019). Males and females were not different in contact frequency (p=0.93).

Interpretation: Inadvertent trips were not uncommon in older adults, even with a visible, stationary obstacle. Lead limb contacts indicate that older adults will have more difficulty recovering their balance after a trip. The strong association between fatigue (induced by walking) and impaired gait is highly relevant when quantifying gait in older adults, and also when developing fall prevention programs.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Shirley Rietdyk, Department of Health and Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America; Center on Aging and the Life Course, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America

Shirley Rietdyk, PhD, is a professor of Health and Kinesiology at Purdue University. She studies the interaction of the neural and mechanical systems in mobility and balance.

Downloads

Published

2022-12-15

How to Cite

Becker, T., & Rietdyk, S. (2022). Inadvertent obstacle contacts when older adults step over obstacles: Effect of sex, self-reported fatigue, gait parameters, and prescription medications . Brazilian Journal of Motor Behavior, 16(5), 385–399. https://doi.org/10.20338/bjmb.v16i4.317

Issue

Section

Special issue "Effects of aging on locomotor patterns"

Metrics

Similar Articles

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.