Back To Top


Any Accident. Any Injury. Anywhere.

Did You Know? Improper Weight Shifting affects Older Adults and Balance Control

March 22nd 2023

Our previous blog has explored the landing phase of balance recovery during a reactive step (such as after a trip). The purpose of this blog is to briefly discuss some of the reported changes in this phase of balance recovery as we age.

Overall, research on the landing phase of forward stepping suggests that in older adults, initial voluntary and forward reactive steps may not be as stabilizing as in young adults [1-3]. This may possibly contribute to the use of multiple steps by older adults during many different activities.

Specifically, older adults exhibit an increased overshoot (and increased variability) of the center of mass after the point of foot contact [1-3]. This is thought to possibly be a function of poor dynamic stability control [2]. Interestingly, it has been observed that in older adults, decreased strength may be linked with an increased likelihood of sustaining an after-step fall (i.e., a fall occurring at least 470 ms after recovery step contact) [4].

Why is studying balance control after the foot contacts the ground important? There are many reasons, but it is known that sufficient control of the center of mass (COM) when both of our feet are on the ground is very important, illustrated by the fact that improper weight shifting is a predominant cause of falls in frail older adults [5].


LISKE is an established leader in the field of accident and injury reconstruction with over thirty years of customer trust. We are dedicated to providing a principled and unparalleled customer experience and continue to strive for excellence, acting with integrity, thoroughness, and accountability. The high-level approach we take to each assignment ensures that no element of causation is overlooked, and no stone is left unturned. Our multi-disciplinary team of scientists, engineers, and ACTAR-accredited reconstruction experts prepare a comprehensive, objective, science-based analysis of each accident, powered by next-generation technology. A LISKE accident and injury reconstruction provides a foundational pillar you can count on, whether as a building block to causation, or in the rebuttal to an unacceptable, misinformed, and overreached opposition conclusion. Plan your litigation strategy and achieve the best resolution for your client with LISKE Accident and Injury Experts.

[1] Singer, J. C., Prentice, S. D., & McIlroy, W. E. (2012). Dynamic stability control during volitional stepping: a focus on the restabilisation phase at movement termination. Gait and Posture, 35(1), 106-110.

[2] Singer, J. C., Prentice, S. D., & McIlroy, W. E. (2013). Age-related changes in mediolateral dynamic stability control during volitional stepping. Gait and Posture, 38(4), 679-683.

[3] Singer, J. C., Prentice, S. D., & McIlroy, W. E. (2016). Age-related challenges in reactive control of mediolateral stability during compensatory stepping: a focus on the dynamics of restabilisation. Journal of Biomechanics, 49(5), 749-755.

[4] Pavol, M. J., Owings, T. M., Foley, K. T., & Grabiner, M. D. (2002). Influence of lower extremity strength of healthy older adults on the outcome of an induced trip. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 50(2), 256-262.

[5] Robinovitch, S. N., Feldman, F., Yang, Y., Schonnop, R., Leung, P. M., Sarraf, T., . . . Loughin, M. (2013). Video capture of the circumstances of falls in elderly people residing in long-term care: an observational study. Lancet, 381(9860), 47-54.