(verbatim from application) The long-term objective of the presently proposed project is to reduce the incidence of injuries to older adults that result from slip-related falls. We will induce controlled slips in young and older adults using a specially designed slipping platform. The purpose of the presently proposed project is to determine the biomechanical variables limit the ability of young and older adults to prevent a backward fall as a result of a forward-directed slip of the foot during locomotion. In particular, we will focus our attention on the non-slipping rear leg as a crucial component of recovering one's balance and avoiding a fall. We hypothesize that avoidance of a fall subsequent to a slip is dictated by the biomechanics of the non-slipping leg and that the higher rate of falling by older adults can be attributed to the biomechanics of the non-slipping rear leg. If the hypotheses are supported then the results will provide support for further investigating appropriate means by which older adults can be better protected from slip-related falls and injuries. We will test these hypotheses by addressing the following Specific Aims.
Specific Aim 1 : characterize the slip conditions that distinguish the ability of young and older adults to avoid a fall after slipping.
Specific Aim 2 : characterize the biomechanical differences that distinguish the ability of young and older adults to avoid a fall after slipping.
Specific Aim 3 : define the importance of the non-slipping, rear leg to avoiding a fall after slipping. The impact of the proposed work is that it will quantify biomechanical determinants of the outcome (recovery or fall) of a slipping event. The health-relatedness of the project is that it will contribute to further systematic design and testing of intervention methods that may effectively reduce the number of slip-related injuries and deaths, particularly in older adults.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Geriatrics and Rehabilitation Medicine (GRM)
Program Officer
Yancik, Rosemary
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University of Illinois at Chicago
Schools of Allied Health Profes
United States
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Troy, Karen L; Donovan, Stephanie J; Grabiner, Mark D (2009) Theoretical contribution of the upper extremities to reducing trunk extension following a laboratory-induced slip. J Biomech 42:1339-44
Troy, Karen L; Donovan, Stephanie J; Marone, Jane R et al. (2008) Modifiable performance domain risk-factors associated with slip-related falls. Gait Posture 28:461-5
Grabiner, Mark D; Donovan, Stephanie; Bareither, Mary Lou et al. (2008) Trunk kinematics and fall risk of older adults: translating biomechanical results to the clinic. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 18:197-204
Grabiner, Mark D; Owings, Tammy M; Pavol, Michael J (2005) Lower extremity strength plays only a small role in determining the maximum recoverable lean angle in older adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 60:1447-50
Owings, Tammy M; Grabiner, Mark D (2004) Step width variability, but not step length variability or step time variability, discriminates gait of healthy young and older adults during treadmill locomotion. J Biomech 37:935-8