Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Ranu Jung

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Denis Brunt

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Wei-Chiang Lin

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


neuromuscular, lateral step task, step task, electromyography, kinetics, kinematics, physical therapy, swing time, motor function

Date of Defense



Older adults may have trouble when performing activities of daily living due to decrease in physical strength and degradation of neuromotor and musculoskeletal function. Motor activation patterns during Lateral Step Down and Step Up from 4-inch and 8-inch step heights was assessed in younger (n=8, 24.4 years) and older adults (n=8, 58.9 years) using joint angle kinematics and electromyography of lower extremity muscles. Ground reaction forces were used to ascertain the loading, stabilization and unloading phases of the tasks. Older adults had an altered muscle activation sequence and significantly longer muscle bursts during loading for the tibialis anterior, gastrocnemius, vastus medialis, bicep femoris, gluteus medius and gluteus maximus muscles of the stationary leg. They also demonstrated a significantly larger swing time (579.1 ms vs. 444.8 ms) during the step down task for the moving leg. The novel data suggests presence of age-related differences in motor coordination during lateral stepping.





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