Dissertation Proposal: Rebecca Krupenevich
Title: Determining the source of the Age-related Distal to Proximal Shift of Lower-extremity Joint Kinetics
Walking is one of the most common activities of daily living and the primary means of locomotion for many older adults. Maintaining the ability to walk is important for preserving independence and quality of life in old age, yet many older adults report mobility limitations, which may be attributable to age-related differences in walking mechanics. When walking at the same speed as young adults, older adults take shorter, more frequent steps, and exhibit smaller peak ankle and greater peak hip joint moments and powers. However, the source of this distal to proximal shift in joint kinetics is unknown. Addressing this gap in knowledge is important for future studies aiming to determine if the age-related distal to proximal shift of joint kinetics is a normal and healthy part of aging, or if measures should be taken to prevent or delay this shift. The most promising biomechanical explanations for the source of the age-related distal to proximal shift in joint kinetics are step length, and lower limb muscle architecture. Therefore, the proposed research will determine to what extent the age-related distal to proximal shift in joint kinetics can be explained by age-related differences in (i) step length, (ii) lower-extremity muscle properties and plantarflexor muscle architecture, and (iii) individual lower-extremity muscle forces.
Committee: Dr. Ross Miller - Advisor, Dr. Jae Shim, Dr. James Hagberg, Dr. Erik Wolf, Dr. Siddhartha Sikdar, and Dr. Norman Wereley