How do the elderly negotiate stairs?

Peter R. Cavanagh, Lorraine M. Mulfinger, D. Alfred Owens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Stair navigation, particularly stair descent, is an extremely challenging and dangerous locomotor task, yet studies suggest that most elderly are unlikely to move to new residences in order to avoid this challenge. The knee and ankle are the key joints where adequate strength and power are required for safe stair descent, and it is not yet clear if sarcopenia in the elderly is likely to result in residual strength below that which is required for successful stair performance. Sensory cues are also critical, and the lack of literature on the specific roles of the various intrinsic and extrinsic factors that affect stair navigation is a clear indication of the need for such research in order to define safer strategies and optimal conditions for elderly individuals to transit between living areas of differing levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S52-S55
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue numberSUPPL. 5
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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