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New study ties decreased muscle strength to functional impairments in older adults

Published in the January issue of the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) scientific journal, Physical Therapy, an observational study concludes that decreased muscle strength in older adults is connected to an individual’s ability to complete functional activities such as stooping, crouching, or kneeling (SCK). In the study, individuals who struggled with SCK were found to have significant decreases in adjusted strength measurements of ankle flexion muscles, knee extensor, and trunk extensor, according to the APTA.

The results of the study call for additional research, particularly in regards to the potential of rehabilitation programs that train specific muscle groups to reduce these functional impairments in older adults. Forty-eight community dwelling adults over age 65 participated in the study. Some initially reported having SCK difficulty and others did not. They were asked to self-rate their ability to stoop, crouch, or kneel based on a five-point scale, and they also completed balance and strength tests.