Differences in axial segment reorientation during standing turns predict multiple falls in older adults.
Falling and their subsequent injuries are some of the most common problems affecting the elderly worldwide, with about one quarter of older adults falling at least once a year. Turning is a major component in mobility. Instability during turning is a characteristic of recurrent fallers and a person is 8 more times likely to experience an injury if falling while turning.
This study looked at the mechanics of turning using motion analysis on 35 older adults, then followed them for a year to monitor falls. They were split into non-faller, single-faller, and multiple-faller groups, and compared.
The study found significant differences between the multiple-faller group and the non-faller groups in mean pelvis onset time, mean angular separation between the head and trunk, peak angular and mean angular separation between the trunk and the pelvis. Basically, the multiple fallers were quicker to initiate pelvic movement, and there was less rotation overall in the head and trunk during turning.
The main limitations of this study were a small sample size and no analysis of potential age differences between groups. From: Wright et al., Gait Posture, 36 (2012) 541-545. All rights reserved to 2012 Elsevier B. V.
The Pubmed summary of the article can be found here.