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Thomas M. Lundin, Dennis W. Jahnigen and Mark D. Grabiner

When rising from a chair, older adults have been reported to use a strategy in which the trunk is flexed to a greater extent than young adults, a strategy attributed by some to concerns with the postural stability demands of the task. This study determined the extent to which maximum trunk flexion angle during a self-paced sit-to-stand from a standardized initial position was influenced by the maximum isometric strength of the knee and trunk/hip extensor muscles in older adults. The hypothesis was that the larger maximum trunk flexion angle attained by older adults when rising from a chair is related to the maximum isometric strength of the knee and trunk-hip extensor muscles. To test this hypothesis, maximum voluntary isometric strength of the trunk extensor and knee extensor muscles of 28 older men and women were measured. Trunk motion during the sit-to-stand by these adults was men assessed using motion analysis. Multiple regression was used to characterize the relationship between the maximum trunk flexion angle and maximum isometric knee extensor and trunk extensor muscle strength. The derived relationship was neither statistically significant nor biomechanically meaningful. This result suggests that the trunk flexion angle attained by healthy older adults when rising from a chair from a standardized initial position is not influenced by knee extension and trunk-hip extension strength as measured in the present study.

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Thomas M. Lundin, Jon W. Feuerbach and Mark D. Grabiner

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of plantar flexor and dorsiflexor fatigue on postural sway amplitude during unilateral, or one-legged, stance. It was hypothesized that plantar flexor and dorsiflexor fatigue would increase unilateral postural sway amplitude. Eight uninjured male subjects participated in pre- and postfatigue unilateral stability tests. Selected parameters describing medial-lateral (ML) and anterior-posterior (AP) postural sway were measured on a Chattecx Balance System before and after an isokinetic fatigue protocol. The fatigue protocol resulted in a significant increase in ML postural sway amplitude (p < 0.05) and an increase in AP sway amplitude (p = 0.065). Previously, links have been established between increased postural sway amplitude and ankle joint injury. Thus, fatigue of the plantar flexors and dorsiflexors, which increased postural sway amplitude, may render the ankle joint susceptible to injury. Induced ankle muscle fatigue may represent a valid paradigm to study the causes of traumatic ankle joint injury.