Active and Passive Mobility of Lower Limb Joints in Elderly Men and Women

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An age associated decline in joint mobility during the early and middle adult years is well documented, however, little information exists on the progress of this aspect of joint function during old age. Active and passive ranges of 10 lower limb joint motions were measured in 80 healthy, active men and women aged from 70 years, to examine the relationship between the capacity for joint movement and age, gender, and type of motion. Joint mobility declined consistently as age increased, with women generally having greater movement capability than their male peers. The predominant trend was for a more rapid reduction in mobility during the ninth decade. Passive ranges were larger than those produced actively, and the pattern of change in both measurement modes was parallel over the age range. It is hypothesized that the consistent decline in mobility indicates the importance of biological aging of articular structures as a primary cause of increasing resistance to movement, while environmental causes, such as changing activity status, are suggested by the variation in the magnitude and patterns of change over the age range

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