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An investigation of the association between grip strength and hip and knee joint moments in older adults

Samuel, Dinesh and Rowe, Philip (2012) An investigation of the association between grip strength and hip and knee joint moments in older adults. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 54 (2). pp. 357-360.

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Abstract

Grip strength is a predictor of health outcomes but with differing rates of age-related decline in muscle strength, it is unclear whether handgrip is a reliable indicator of lower limb moments. This study investigated the relationship between grip strength and lower extremity moments in community-dwelling older adults. Eighty-two healthy volunteers aged 60-82 years (mean age 73.2 years) performed maximal voluntary contractions of knee and hip extensors and flexors at three positions and at neutral position for hip abductors and adductors using a custom-built dynamometer. Grip strength was measured using an electronic Jamar dynamometer. The relative reduction in muscle strength of 80s age category compared to 60-year-olds ranged from 14% for grip strength to 27% for hip abductors. Peak torque of flexors and extensors of the knee and hip joints were significantly correlated with grip strength and Pearson's correlation coefficients ranged from 0.56 to 0.78 with the highest correlations observed between knee moments and grip strength. "Good" correlation was found but only 31-60% of the variation in grip strength could be related to changes in joint torques. Hence the assumption that grip strength is an indicator of strength in the lower limb would seem unjustified in the healthy older adult.