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A novel multivariate approach for biomechanical profiling of stair negotiation.

Ackermans, TMA, Francksen, NC, Casaña-Eslava, RV, Lees, C, Baltzopoulos, V, Lisboa, PJG, Hollands, MA, O'Brien, TD and Maganaris, CN (2019) A novel multivariate approach for biomechanical profiling of stair negotiation. Experimental Gerontology. ISSN 0531-5565

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Stair falls, especially during stair descent, are a major problem for older people. Stair fall risk has typically been assessed by quantifying mean differences between subject groups (e.g. older vs. younger individuals) for a number of biomechanical parameters individually indicative of risk, e.g., a reduced foot clearance with respect to the stair edge, which increases the chances of a trip. This approach neglects that individuals within a particular group may also exhibit other concurrent conservative strategies that could reduce the overall risk for a fall, e.g. a decreased variance in foot clearance. The purpose of the present study was to establish a multivariate approach that characterises the overall stepping behaviour of an individual. Twenty-five younger adults (age: 24.5 ± 3.3 y) and 70 older adults (age: 71.1 ± 4.1 y) descended a custom-built instrumented seven-step staircase at their self-selected pace in a step-over-step manner without using the handrails. Measured biomechanical parameters included: 1) Maximal centre of mass angular acceleration, 2) Foot clearance, 3) Proportion of foot length in contact with stair, 4) Required coefficient of friction, 5) Cadence, 6) Variance of these parameters. As a conventional analysis, a one-way ANOVA followed by Bonferroni post-hoc testing was used to identify differences between younger adults, older fallers and non-fallers. To examine differences in overall biomechanical stair descent behaviours between individuals, k-means clustering was used. The conventional grouping approach showed an effect of age and fall history on several single risk factors. The multivariate approach identified four clusters. Three clusters differed from the overall mean by showing both risky and conservative strategies on the biomechanical outcome measures, whereas the fourth cluster did not display any particularly risky or conservative strategies. In contrast to the conventional approach, the multivariate approach showed the stepping behaviours identified did not contain only older adults or previous fallers. This highlights the limited predictive power for stair fall risk of approaches based on single-parameter comparisons between predetermined groups. Establishing the predictive power of the current approach for future stair falls in older people is imperative for its implementation as a falls prevention tool.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 11 Medical and Health Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Applied Mathematics (merged with Comp Sci 10 Aug 20)
Nursing & Allied Health
Sport & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2019 08:27
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 09:11
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.exger.2019.110646
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11007
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