Assessment of the toes flexor musculature in institutionalized and community-dwelling older adults: biomechanical aspects, mobility and falls

ABSTRACT Morphological, biomechanical and functional changes in the feet may increase the risk of fall in older adults. Institutionalized older adults have less mobility and greater risk of falling. The aim of this study is to check the relationship of the feet’s characteristics with the mobility and falls of institutionalized or active community-dwelling older adults. A total of 15 institutionalized and 15 community-dwelling older adults participated in this study. They were assessed considering the incidence of falls and through the Timed Up and Go Test; presence of hallux valgus; and strength peak of the muscles of the hallux and toes measured by a pressure platform. The variance analysis was used to compare the groups. As a result, the community-dwelling older adults showed greater muscle strength of the toe flexor muscles than institutionalized older adults (p<0.05) and better functional mobility. We observed the risk of fall in institutionalized older adults. Hallux valgus of mild degree was the most common deformity. The Pearson’s correlation coefficient showed no correlation between the analyzed variables and incidence of falls. We concluded that the strength of toe flexor muscles is greater in community-dwelling older adults, as well as the functional mobility, when compared with institutionalized older adults.