Falls, muscle strength, and functional abilities in community-dwelling elderly women

Viviane Santos Borges, Nayara Santos Silva, Ariana Cristina Malta, Nathália Cristina Xavier, Lorene Elka Santana Bernardes


Introduction: Falls are among the most common and serious problems facing elderly women. Falling is associated with increased mortality, morbidity, reduced functioning, loss of independence and hospitalization. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the association among fear of falling, muscle strength, and functional abilities in community-dwelling elderly women. Methods: Forty-nine elderly women (70.57 ± 5.59 years) participated in this study. Records of falls, self-efficacy associated with falls (FES-I Brazil), functional abilities (the Timed Up and Down Stairs test [TUDS] and the Timed Up and Go test [TUG]), lower limb muscle strength (knee extensors and ankle plantar flexors), and hand grip strength were investigated as variables of interest. Descriptive statistics, the one-way ANOVA, and linear regression tests were used to analyze the association between fear of falling and falls with other variables (α = 0.05). Results: Elderly women who presented records of falls within the last year had lesser strength of knee extensors and plantar flexors (p ≤. 05). Those who had low self-efficacy associated with falls presented lower strength of knee extensors (p ≤. 01). Variables associated with functional abilities (r = 0.70) and lower limb strength (r = 0.53) showed a positive correlation (p ≤. 01). Conclusion: The concern with the fear of falling and falls may be negative effects caused by lower limb muscle weakness.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1980-5918.030.002.AO16


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