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Different strength declines in leg primary movers versus stabilizers across age - Implications for the risk of falls in older adults?
This study investigated differences in the declines of isometric strength in hip abductors and adductors versus knee extensors across four different age groups (n = 31: 11.2 ± 1.0 y, n = 30: 23.1 ± 2.7 y, n = 27: 48.9 ± 4.4 y, and n = 33: 70.1 ± 4.2 y) with a total of 121 female subjects. As a starting point, we assumed that, during their daily activities, elderly people would use their leg stabilizers less frequently than their leg primary movers as compared to younger people. Given that muscle strength decreases in the course of the aging process, we hypothesized that larger strength declines in hip abductors and hip adductors as compared to knee extensors would be detected across age. Maximal isometric force for these muscle groups was assessed with a digital hand-held dynamometer. Measurements were taken at 75% of the thigh or shank length and expressed relative to body weight and lever arm length. Intratester reliability of the normalized maximal torques was estimated by using Cronbach’s alpha and calculated to be larger than 0.95. The obtained results indicate a clearly more pronounced strength decline in hip abductors and hip adductors across age than in the knee extensors. Therefore, a particular need for strength training of the lower extremity stabilizer muscles during the aging process is implied.