In this study, the relationship between musculoskeletal architecture of the lateral gastrocnemius muscle and gait velocity in elderly individuals was investigated using ultrasonography and standardized tests of physical performance in 20 older adult males. Musculoskeletal architecture parameters included moment arm, fascicle length, pennation angle, and muscle thickness. The Six Minute Walk Test (6MIN) and Four Metre Walk Velocity Test (4METRE) were used to determine preferred and maximum gait velocity, respectively. Only weak correlations were found for all 20 subjects taken together. After subjects were separated into faster and slower subgroups by preferred velocity using cluster analysis; however, a strong correlation was found between plantarflexion moment arm and 6MIN velocity in the slower group (R 2=0.669, p=0.004). Examination of subgroup differences revealed that the slow subgroup was significantly older than the fast subgroup (p=0.034), and had average body mass (p=0.021) and body mass index (p=0.011) that were significantly greater. The strength of the correlation between plantarflexion moment arm and 6MIN velocity found for slower subjects is much greater than those previously reported for correlations between ankle strength or power and walking velocity. Further investigation is necessary to determine if a link exists between plantarflexor moment arm and gait velocity in older and heavier adults.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering