June 2017

Ankle proprioception in older adults diminishes to level of adolescents

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Ankle proprioception peaks in young adulthood, and in elderly individuals—even the health­iest—declines to levels similar to those of adolescents, according to research presented in early June at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting in Denver.

Investigators from the University of Canberra in Australia and Shanghai University of Sport in China analyzed ankle proprioception in 20 children (aged 6-8 years), 20 adolescents (13-15 years), 20 young adults (18-25 years), and 20 older adults (65-82 years) using the AMEDA (active movement extent discrimination assessment) test. The older adults were active, in good cognitive health, and had no history of falling.

Among the groups, the mean area under the curve for AMEDA accuracy was lowest in the children and highest in the young adults. Scores for the older adults were significantly lower for the young adults, and similar to those of the adolescents. Given the robust nature of the older adult study participants, the findings suggest ankle proprioception in less-active older adults or those with comorbidities is of even greater concern.


Yang N, Waddington G, Adams R, Han J. Age-related changes in ankle proprioception. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2017; 49(5 Suppl 1):S394.

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