Stretch for Stability - A Study on the Effects of Ankle-dorsiflexion on Balance and Gait
Megan Syho, Kai Leong
Floor Location : M 003 H
Aging is associated with a progressive weakening in overall muscle strength and thus leads to an increased risk of falls and a sedentary lifestyle. Little attention has been placed on ankle dorsiflexion and it's relation to lower extremity bio-mechanics and balance in older populations. Therefore, through the Berg Balance Scale, and quadriceps angle, we sought to discover changes associated with improved ankle dorsiflexion and as well, quantify these changes. A tangible exercise program pertaining to changes in ankle dorsiflexion has also not yet been formulated to fit the needs of an older adult. The primary purpose of this investigation was to determine whether an improvement in ankle dorsiflexion through three static exercises led to improved balance and knee kinematics during gait for the elderly. 8 healthy subjects between the ages of 65 – 90 were gathered to complete a daily three week exercise program designed to increase ankle dorsiflexion. Upon completion of the program, our results show that the increase of ankle dorsiflexion angle leads to an improvement in the Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and Quadriceps Angle during gait cycles. This affirms our notion that ankle dorsiflexion plays an integral role in the balance of older persons and kinematics of the lower extremity during the gait cycle. Our exercise program can be a practical method for the improvement of ankle dorsiflexion.