Fear of falling is associated with gait parameters during obstacle avoidance with different physical characteristics in older adults
Keywords:Aging, Locomotion, Dual task
BACKGROUND: Fear of falling (FOF) is related to worse locomotor performance, is a predictor of decline in functionality, and predisposes falls in older adults. It is necessary to investigate how FOF influences locomotor parameters during walking and in obstacle avoidance in older adults.
AIM: To investigate the relationship between FOF and the locomotor variables during walking through and obstacle avoidance with different physical characteristics.
METHOD: 22 older adults participated in this study and were invited to perform three tasks: 1) Walking Through; 2) Walking with a solid obstacle and 3) Walking with a fragile obstacle.
RESULTS: Correlations were found between FOF and following variables: 1) Walking Through: step velocity (r=-0.640, p=0.003), width (r=0.641, p=0.003), double support time (r=0.523, p=0.022); 2) Solid obstacle: step velocity (r=-0.666, p=0.002), length (r=-0.758, p<0.001), foot-obstacle horizontal distance (r=-0.479, p=0.038), right stride velocity (r=-0.534, p=0.019), length (r=-0.522, p=0.022), left stride velocity (r=-0.551, p=0.014), left stride duration (r=0.561, p=0.012); 3) Fragilid obstacle: step velocity (r=-0.629, p=0.004), length (r=-0.556, p=0.014), foot-obstacle distance (r=-0.540, p=0.017), obstacle-foot distance (r=-0.492, p=0.032), right stride velocity (r=-0.583, p=0.009), length (r=-0.498, p=0.030), left stride velocity (r=-0.574, p=0.010), length (r=-0.462, p=0.047), width (r=-0.514, p=0.024), right stride duration (r=0.479, p=0.038), left stride duration (r=0.646, p=0.003).
CONCLUSION: The characteristics of the obstacle did not influence the older adults FOF during walking through and obstacle avoidance. Although they adopt predictive and reactive compensatory adaptations in an attempt to make the task safer, these adaptations actually make the task more dangerous and increase the risk of stumbling and falling.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Gabriela Vigorito Magalhães, Natalia Madalena Rinaldi, Juliana Amaral da Silva, Milena Razuk
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