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Ankle mobility and postural stability

, : Ankle mobility and postural stability. Physiotherapy Theory & Practice 15(2): 91-103, June

Impaired function of the ankle joint can decrease mobility in older adults. Age-related changes in function include increased passive resistance of the elastic tissue in opposing muscles, tendons, and articular structures, weakened agonist muscles, and impaired proprioceptive control. An individual with limited ankle joint mobility may be at risk for tripping and a fall, an event which sometimes leads to serious injury and dependence. Positive effects of exercise on joint stiffness and range of motion have been reported, leading to conclusions that both the connective tissue system and muscular control in older people are modifiable through an appropriate exercise programme. Stretching through range can be combined with other exercises which emphasise muscle strengthening at the ankle, especially those utilising functional positions in full weight-bearing. Finally, with respect to geriatric physical therapy, recent research has demonstrated encouraging evidence of adaptability of the connective and muscular tissue systems in even very old, long-term care residents who have participated in appropriate exercise programmes.


DOI: 10.1080/095939899307793

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