Foot-ankle complex strength

Foot-ankle complex strength: pedestal for a physically healthy ageing ?Thesis by Enrico Roma

Supervirsors: Pr Jean-Benoit Morin, LIBM - Pr Guillaume Millet, LIBM

The ageing process leads to multiple musculoskeletal disorders, such as sarcopenia and dynapenia. The present phenomena reduce the mobility of the elderly, increase risk of falls and hospitalization and hence influence the quality of life and wellbeing. Hence, maintaining mobility is imperative and human locomotion appears to be a main determinant in the autonomy of aging population. The facts presented appear to be even more relevant considering the increasing in the life expectancy and in the mean age of the population.

The anatomy and the function of the ankle and foot are determinant of human movement capability, as they work as a force transducer between the body and the ground. The function of the foot-ankle complex is not the mere force production with the aim to obtain positive or negative work according with the intention to move. In fact, they exert a regulatory function on the stiffness of the foot and the capacity to store elastic energy. For instance, the intrinsic muscle of the foot regulate the system shift between a spring like system to a spring-dumper one. Degenerative process associated with ageing can affect the foot-ankle complex, preventing it to successfully carry on the mechanical work production and regulatory function. This phenomena could then concur to limit mobility or increase the risk of fall.

For the aforementioned reasons, the first part of the project is cross-sectional, and it aim to explore the link between foot and ankle specific muscle in different fatigue conditions. A secondary objective is to investigate how the reduced function can modify the strategy of movement adopted by the participants. The second part is interventional and aim to determine the changes in physical function, health and mobility specific markers induced by a training program that target specific muscles of ankle-foot complex.

Contract duration: 10/2020 to 09/2023