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Brennan J. Thompson







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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Previous research has found that lower limb muscle asymmetries increase with age and are linked to fall and injury risks. However, past studies lack a wide variety of muscle function modes and measures as well as comparison to a comparable younger age group. The purpose of this study was to examine age-related lower limb muscle function asymmetries across a variety of muscle action types and velocities in young and old adults. Lower limb balance, strength, power, and velocity were evaluated with concentric, isometric, isotonic, and eccentric muscle actions during a single-leg stance test and on single- and multi-joint dynamometers in 29 young (age = 21.45 ± 3.02) and 23 old (age = 77.00 ± 4.60) recreationally active men and women. Most (15 of 17) variables showed no statistical (p > 0.05) or functional (10% threshold) limb asymmetry for either age group. There was a significant main effect (p = 0.046; collapsed across groups) found for asymmetry (dominant > non-dominant) for the isotonic peak velocity variable. There was a significant (p = 0.010) group × limb interaction for single-joint concentric peak power produced at a slow (60 deg/s) velocity due to the non-dominant limb of the young group being 12.2% greater than the dominant limb (p < 0.001), whereas the old group was not asymmetrical (p = 0.965). The findings of this investigation indicate there is largely no age-related asymmetry of the lower limbs across a range of muscle function-related variables and modes, with a couple of notable exceptions. Also, the significant asymmetries for the isotonic peak velocity variable perhaps show the sensitivity of this uncommonly used measure in detecting minimally present muscle function imbalances.

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