A1 Journal article (refereed), original research

Ankle and knee extensor muscle effort during locomotion in young and older athletes: Implications for understanding age-related locomotor decline

Open Access publication

Publication Details
Authors: Kulmala Juha-Pekka, Korhonen Marko T., Ruggiero Luca, Kuitunen Sami, Suominen Harri, Heinonen Ari, Mikkola Aki, Avela Janne
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group: Open Access Journals - Option C / Nature Publishing Group
Publication year: 2020
Language: English
Related Journal or Series Information: Scientific Reports
Journal acronym: SciRep
Volume number: 10
Issue number: 1
Start page: 1
End page: 7
Number of pages: 7
ISSN: 2045-2322
JUFO-Level of this publication: 1
Open Access: Open Access publication


Age-related reduction in muscle force generation capacity is similarly
evident across different lower limb muscle groups, yet decline in
locomotor performance with age has been shown to depend primarily on
reduced ankle extensor muscle function. To better understand why ageing
has the largest detrimental effect on ankle joint function during
locomotion, we examined maximal ankle and knee extensor force
development during a two-leg hopping test in older and young men, and
used these forces as a reference to calculate relative operating efforts
for the knee and ankle extensors as participants walked, ran and
sprinted. We found that, across locomotion modes in both age groups,
ankle extensors operated at a greater relative effort compared to knee
extensors; however, slightly less pronounced differences between ankle
and knee extensor muscle efforts were present among older men, mainly
due to a reduction in the ankle extensor force generation during
locomotion modes. We consider these findings as evidence that reduced
ankle push-off function in older age is driven by a tendency to keep
ankle extensor effort during locomotion lower than it would otherwise
be, which, in turn, may be an important self-optimisation strategy to
prevent locomotor-induced fatigue of ankle extensor muscles.

Last updated on 2021-16-03 at 12:47