Elasticity of leg muscles and incidence of falls in older adults: a prospective cohort analysis

Cavusoglu C., ŞENDUR H. N., CERİT M. N., Candemir B., Ileri I., Borazan F. Y., ...More

European Geriatric Medicine, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s41999-022-00738-x
  • Journal Name: European Geriatric Medicine
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, EMBASE
  • Keywords: Fall prediction, Gastrocnemius medialis, Muscle elasticity, Rectus femoris
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: Aging impacts muscle strength and elasticity, which in turn influence dynamic balance, walking speed, and physical performance. We aimed to evaluate the relationship between the elasticity of leg muscles and incidence of falls in older adults. Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort analysis with outpatients from a geriatric clinic. Any history of falls in the past year was recorded. Timed up and go test, muscle thickness, and handgrip strength tests were performed. Elasticities of the gastrocnemius medialis (GM) and rectus femoris (RF) muscles were evaluated using shear wave elastography. Patients self-recorded their falls, and additional phone calls were made to them each month for 6 months. Results: The median age of the patients (n = 55) was 72 years (66–86); and 72% were women. The GM showed significantly lower elasticity in patients with history of falls in the past year than in those without it (8.08 kPa [3.90–16.17] vs. 9.70 kPa [4.99–20.95]; p = 0.028). A similar negative correlation between GM and fall incidence was noted among those with additional falls during the follow-up period (6.96 kPa [3.90–12.41] vs. 9.13 kPa [4.99–20.95]; p = 0.019). GM elasticity was significantly correlated with the timed up and go test score (r = − 0.612, p < 0.001), handgrip strength (r = 0.384, p = 0.015), and muscle thickness (r = 0.232, p = 0.049). No such associations were observed for the RF muscles. Conclusion: GM muscle elasticity is associated with alterations in muscle structure that may lead to falls in older adults. Therefore, muscle elasticity may be a fall predictor in older adults.