The identification of fall history using maximal and rapid isometric torque characteristics of the hip extensors in healthy, recreationally-active elderly females: A preliminary investigation

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Aging Clinical and Experimental Research






Springer Verlag

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Background and aims Maximal and rapid torque characteristics of the hip extensor muscles play an important role in fall prevention and other balance-related performances; however, few studies have investigated the ability of these variables at identifying fall-history status in healthy, recreationally active elderly adults. This study aimed to examine the effectiveness of maximal and rapid isometric torque characteristics of the hip extensor muscles to differentiate between healthy, recreationally active elderly females with (fallers) and without (non-fallers) a history a falls. Methods Six elderly female fallers (mean ± SD: age = 73 ± 7 year; mass = 68 ± 16 kg; height = 160 ± 5 cm) and nine elderly female non-fallers (age = 71 ± 7 year; mass = 66 ± 16 kg; height = 157 ± 6 cm) performed two isometric maximal voluntary contractions (MVCs) of the hip extensor muscles. Peak torque (PT) and absolute and relative rate of torque development (RTD) at the early (0–50 ms) and late (100–200 ms) phases of muscle contraction were examined during each MVC. Results Absolute and relative RTD at 0–50 ms were greater (P = 0.039 and 0.011, respectively) in the non-fallers compared to the fallers. However, no group-related differences (P = 0.160–0.573) were observed for PT nor absolute and relative RTD at 100–200 ms. Conclusions Early rapid strength production of the hip extensor muscles may be a sensitive and effective measure for discriminating between elderly females of different fall histories. These findings may provide important insight regarding implications for the assessment of fall risk and in the development of proper training programs aimed at minimizing the occurrence of falls and other balance-related injuries in the elderly.

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