Falls are a significant health concern among older adults. The rate of falls increases with age [1], and often leads to fall-related injuries such as fractures and head injuries. These lead to loss of independence, morbidity and fear of falling [2]. There are many strategies used to prevent falls, including those used to regain balance following a slip or trip. One such balance recovery maneuver is the step response, which involves respositioning the body’s base of support to recapture its moving center of mass [3]. Age-related performance declines in the step response may contribute to fall risk, especially during the step response landing phase where biomechanical strength requirements are largest [4]. Such age-related declines likely manifest themselves as alterations in lower extremity joint dynamics. While these effects are likely present in all lower extremity joints (hips, knees, and ankles), the purpose of this preliminary study was to investigate age effects in stepping leg ankle dynamics during a balance-restoring step response.

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