Decrease in required coefficient of friction due to smaller lean angle during turning in older adults

Takeshi Yamaguchi, Ryosuke Okamoto, Kazuo Hokkirigawa, Kei Masani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated age-related differences in the required coefficient of friction (RCOF) during 90° turning, the difference of RCOF during step and spin turn, and how affects observed differences. Sixteen healthy young and healthy older adults (eight men and eight women in each group) participated. Participants performed 90° step and spin turns to the right at a self-selected normal speed. Older adults turned with lower RCOF than the young adults during both step and spin turns. This was associated with reduced mediolateral (ML) RCOF component (RCOF ML ) for the older adults. Reduced RCOF ML in older adults was associated with reductions in the ML component of the lean angle of the body during turning. This age-related gait changes during turning can be compensatory mechanisms that allowed older adults to turn while reducing the risk of slipping. Spin turns exhibited lower RCOF, resulting from significantly lower RCOF ML , than step turns in young and older adults; thus, spin turning is a safer turning strategy for preventing lateral slips. This may suggest that, in older adults, slip prevention may take precedence over balance recovery after slips sustained during turning. These results illustrate a turning gait mechanism that helps prevent slips and falls, and how age affects this mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-170
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 6


  • Aging
  • Mediolateral direction
  • Required coefficient of friction
  • Slips and falls
  • Turn


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