Master of Kinesiology (MKin)
Kinesiology and Physical Education
Faculty of Science
Dr. Stephen D. Perry
Dr. Diane Gregory
Dr. Stephen Fischer
Older adults suffer from an increased risk of falling, and falls make up a substantial percentage of injuries and mortality rates in elderly populations. Falls also burden health and long-term care infrastructure and can limit individual independence and overall functioning due to fear of falling. Footwear and orthotic interventions have previously been shown to affect balance in both young and older adult populations and may provide a potential avenue for improving balance and combatting fall rates. Footwear and orthotic interventions are relatively easily implemented, however there is a lack of consistency among current footwear and orthotic literature as well as mixed results regarding the effects of various characteristics. Much of the current literature also focuses on static balance testing which may not accurately represent common balance challenges faced by older adults in day-to-day life. The aim of the present thesis project is to discern potential differences between age groups during various dynamic balance tasks as well as determine if varying levels of implementable footwear characteristics influence dynamic balance. Results included greater lateral and temporal stability margins, as well as mediolateral center of pressure ranges in the elderly when compared to the young during normal walking. Results pertaining to footwear included typical levels of anteroposterior flexibility (APS) being beneficial to balance compared to more than typical during some conditions of normal walking, while the opposite was reported for some uneven terrain conditions. Partial evidence for deviation from typical levels of midsole hardness (MH) as being detrimental to balance regardless of age was also observed. No substantial findings were reported for mediolateral flexibility (MLS). These results provide evidence for differences in balance stability and strategies when comparing young and elderly individuals, as well as partial evidence for conservative gait patterns in elderly participants and the contextual optimization of certain footwear characteristics.
Wallace, Joseph, "Footwear Characteristics: Effects on Dynamic Balance in the Young and Elderly" (2022). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 2445.
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