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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 561695, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/561695
Research Article

Single Stance Stability and Proprioceptive Control in Older Adults Living at Home: Gender and Age Differences

1International Society of Proprioception and Posture, Turin, Italy
2Proprioception Center, Via Valgioie 85-87, 10146 Turin, Italy
3Epidemiology Unit, Local Health Unit TO3, Piemonte Region, Grugliasco, Italy
4Sanitary District 2, Local Health Unit TO1, Piemonte Region, Turin, Italy
5Department of Functional Rehabilitation, Local Health Unit TO1, Piemonte Region, Turin, Italy

Received 28 February 2013; Revised 21 June 2013; Accepted 27 June 2013

Academic Editor: Karl Rosengren

Copyright © 2013 Dario Riva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

In developed countries, falls in older people represent a rising problem. As effective prevention should start before the risk becomes evident, an early predictor is needed. Single stance instability would appear as a major risk factor. Aims of the study were to describe single stance stability, its sensory components, and their correlation with age and gender. A random sample of 597 older adults (319 men, 278 women) living at home, aged 65–84, was studied. Stability tests were performed with an electronic postural station. The single stance test showed the impairment of single stance stability in older individuals (75–84 yrs). The significant decline of stability in the older subjects may be explained by the impairment of proprioceptive control together with the decrease in compensatory visual stabilization and emergency responses. Younger subjects (65–74 yrs) exhibited better, but still inadequate, proprioceptive control with compensatory visual stabilization. Gender differences appeared in older subjects: women were significantly less stable than men. The measurement of the sensory components of single stance stability could aid in the early detection of a decay in antigravity movements many years before the risk of falling becomes evident. Adequate proprioceptive control could mitigate the effects of all other risks of falling.