Background and Purpose. This was a follow-up study to Mecagni et al.' s 2000 study entitled Balance and ankle range of motion in community-dwelling women aged 64 to 87 years: a correlational study, where they found a positive correlation between ankle range of motion and performance on two balance assessments. This study further investigated the effect of ankle dorsiflexion and great toe extension range of motion compared to balance measures in ambulating elderly adults.
Subjects. Thirty-five elderly adults over 65 participated in this study; 27 females and 8 males.
Methods. An inclinometer fit with a laser level was used to measure each subject's bilateral active and passive ankle dorsiflexion and great toe extension range of motions. Balance measures used were the Functional Reach Test (FRT) and the Tinetti Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment (POMA). Balance data for the FRT and the Tinetti POMA were correlated with measurements of active and passive range of motions of the great toe and ankle using correlation/regression statistical data analysis.
Results. Correlations between ROM and balance scores were found ranging from 0.01 to 0.52.
Conclusion and Discussion. Great toe extension and ankle dorsiflexion range of motion have a moderate to good correlation to performance on a balance assessment and therefore may be a predictor of falling. But, falls are related to many possible factors and ankle and great toe ROM alone is not the only predictor of falling in the elderly.
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