Journal of electromyography and kinesiology : official journal of the International Society of Electrophysiological Kinesiology vol:18 issue:2 pages:235-42
Hip fractures are among the most serious consequences of falls in the elderly. Martial arts (MA) fall techniques may reduce hip fracture risk, as they are known to reduce hip impact forces by approximately 30% in experienced fallers. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether hip impact forces and velocities in MA falls would be smaller than in a 'natural' fall arrest strategy (Block) in young adults (without any prior experience) after a 30-min training session in sideways MA fall techniques. Ten subjects fell sideways from kneeling height. In order to identify experience-related differences, additional EMG data of both fall types were collected in inexperienced (n=10) and experienced fallers (n=5). Compared to Block falls, MA falls had significantly smaller hip impact forces (-17%) and velocities (-7%). EMG results revealed experience-related differences in the execution of the MA fall, indicative of less pronounced trunk rotation in the inexperienced fallers. This may explain their smaller reduction of impact forces compared to experienced fallers. In conclusion, the finding that a substantial reduction in impact forces can be achieved after a short training in MA techniques is very promising with respect to their use in interventions to prevent fall injuries.