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Phys. Ther. Korea 2022; 29(2): 124-130

Published online May 20, 2022

https://doi.org/10.12674/ptk.2022.29.2.124

© Korean Research Society of Physical Therapy

Age-related Differences in Ankle-joint Proprioception and Postural Balance in Women: Proprioception of Force Versus Position

Seo-hyun Kim1 , PT, BPT, Chung-hwi Yi2 , PT, PhD, Jin-seok Lim1 , PT, BPT, One-bin Lim2,3 , PT, PhD

1Department of Physical Therapy, The Graduate School, Yonsei University, 2Department of Physical Therapy, College of Software and Digital Healthcare Convergence, Yonsei University, Wonju, 3Department of Physical Therapy, Mokpo Science University, Mokpo, Korea

Correspondence to: Chung-hwi Yi
E-mail: pteagle@yonsei.ac.kr
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2554-8083

Received: January 17, 2022; Accepted: February 24, 2022

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background: During postural control, older adults are more dependent on proprioception than are young adults. Ankle proprioception, which plays an important role in maintaining postural balance, decreases with age. Published studies are insufficient to establish a significant age difference in postural sway resulting from the known age-related decrease in ankle proprioception and do not examine various detailed test conditions. Objects: The present study aimed to compare ankle proprioception between older and younger groups along dimensions of position vs. force proprioception and dorsiflexion vs. plantarflexion. The present study also aimed to compare postural sway between young and older women during quiet standing under two sensory conditions.
Methods: We recruited seven young women aged 21–24 and seven older women aged 60–63. Ankle proprioception was assessed as the accuracy of the joint position sense (JPS) and the force sense (FS). Postural sway was assessed using center-of-pressure measurements recorded during quiet standing under two sensory positions: eyes open and eyes closed with head tilted back.
Results: Older women had lower JPS in dorsiflexion and lower FS in plantarflexion than did younger women. We found no significant age differences in JPS in plantarflexion or in FS in dorsiflexion. We observed a main effect of group on postural sway in two sway parameters out of three. We observed significant differences in JPS with dorsiflexion, and in FS with plantarflexion.
Conclusion: Proprioception for ankle plantar flexor decreased more significantly with aging than did that for ankle dorsiflexor, accounting for the impaired postural balance observed in older women.

Keywords: Aging, Ankle joint, Postural balance, Proprioception

Article

Original Article

Phys. Ther. Korea 2022; 29(2): 124-130

Published online May 20, 2022 https://doi.org/10.12674/ptk.2022.29.2.124

Copyright © Korean Research Society of Physical Therapy.

Age-related Differences in Ankle-joint Proprioception and Postural Balance in Women: Proprioception of Force Versus Position

Seo-hyun Kim1 , PT, BPT, Chung-hwi Yi2 , PT, PhD, Jin-seok Lim1 , PT, BPT, One-bin Lim2,3 , PT, PhD

1Department of Physical Therapy, The Graduate School, Yonsei University, 2Department of Physical Therapy, College of Software and Digital Healthcare Convergence, Yonsei University, Wonju, 3Department of Physical Therapy, Mokpo Science University, Mokpo, Korea

Correspondence to:Chung-hwi Yi
E-mail: pteagle@yonsei.ac.kr
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2554-8083

Received: January 17, 2022; Accepted: February 24, 2022

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background: During postural control, older adults are more dependent on proprioception than are young adults. Ankle proprioception, which plays an important role in maintaining postural balance, decreases with age. Published studies are insufficient to establish a significant age difference in postural sway resulting from the known age-related decrease in ankle proprioception and do not examine various detailed test conditions. Objects: The present study aimed to compare ankle proprioception between older and younger groups along dimensions of position vs. force proprioception and dorsiflexion vs. plantarflexion. The present study also aimed to compare postural sway between young and older women during quiet standing under two sensory conditions.
Methods: We recruited seven young women aged 21–24 and seven older women aged 60–63. Ankle proprioception was assessed as the accuracy of the joint position sense (JPS) and the force sense (FS). Postural sway was assessed using center-of-pressure measurements recorded during quiet standing under two sensory positions: eyes open and eyes closed with head tilted back.
Results: Older women had lower JPS in dorsiflexion and lower FS in plantarflexion than did younger women. We found no significant age differences in JPS in plantarflexion or in FS in dorsiflexion. We observed a main effect of group on postural sway in two sway parameters out of three. We observed significant differences in JPS with dorsiflexion, and in FS with plantarflexion.
Conclusion: Proprioception for ankle plantar flexor decreased more significantly with aging than did that for ankle dorsiflexor, accounting for the impaired postural balance observed in older women.

Keywords: Aging, Ankle joint, Postural balance, Proprioception

Fig 1.

Figure 1.Ankle proprioception test.
Physical Therapy Korea 2022; 29: 124-130https://doi.org/10.12674/ptk.2022.29.2.124

Fig 2.

Figure 2.Results of independent t-test in JPS and FS. JPS, joint position sense; FS, force sense; DF, dorsiflexion; PF, plantarflexion. *p < 0.05.
Physical Therapy Korea 2022; 29: 124-130https://doi.org/10.12674/ptk.2022.29.2.124

Table 1 . General data of participants.

VariableYoungOlder
Age (y)23.1 ± 1.761.3 ± 2.4
Height (cm)162.7 ± 5.7158.3 ± 4.6
Weight (kg)61.3 ± 9.557.7 ± 7.4
Body mass index (kg/m2)23.2 ± 3.023.0 ± 3.3

Values are presented as mean ± standard deviation..


Table 2 . Postural sway data of all participants.

VariableYoungOlder


EOECHBEOECHB
AREAa527.14 ± 256.60877.14 ± 458.31584.57 ± 228.53956.00 ± 366.56
PATHb625.29 ± 182.891055.71 ± 223.80798.86 ± 133.381367.71 ± 126.90
VELc11.00 ± 3.0017.71 ± 3.5513.29 ± 2.2922.57 ± 2.30

Values are presented as mean ± standard deviation. EO, eyes open; ECHB, eyes closed with head tilted back. aThe mean sway area of the 95% confidence ellipse (cm2). bThe center of pressure path length (mm). cThe mean velocity of the center of pressure displacements (mm/s)..


Table 3 . ANOVA analyses by group and sensory conditions.

VariableGroupSensory conditionGroup × Sensory condition



Fp-valueFp-valueFp-value
AREAa0.4150.53117.0540.001***0.1970.665
PATHb9.2650.010*123.232< 0.001***2.3650.150
VELc7.8340.016*118.471< 0.001***3.4710.087

aThe mean sway area of the 95% confidence ellipse (cm2). bThe center of pressure path length (mm). cThe mean velocity of the center of pressure displacements (mm/s). *p < 0.05, ***p < 0.001..