Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics vol:60 issue:2 pages:252-258
BACKGROUND: The first purpose was to examine whether knee extension strength is a better predictor of functional performance than handgrip strength among older adults (≥60 years). The second purpose was to identify functionally relevant cut-off values for muscle strength.
METHODS: 770 community-dwelling older adults, 104 older adults living in assisted living facilities and 73 nursing home residents were included. Static strength, expressed in kg/kg body weight (BW), was measured using two field tests: handgrip (GRIP/BW) and knee extension (KNEE/BW) test. Functional performance was assessed with 6-Minute Walk Distance (6MWD, N=947) and modified Physical Performance Test (mPPT, N=152).
RESULTS: Both GRIP/BW and KNEE/BW were positively correlated with functional performance in all settings (p<0.05). In the community and nursing homes, both strength variables equally contributed to functional performance. In assisted living facilities, KNEE/BW (R(2)6MWD=0.39 and R(2)mPPT=0.35) was clearly a better predictor of functional performance than GRIP/BW (R(2)6MWD=0.15 and R(2)mPPT=0.12). GRIP/BW had no added value to KNEE/BW in order to explain the variance in functional performance. Functionally relevant cut-off values for static strength, for men and women respectively, were set at 0.40 and 0.31 for KNEE/BW and at 0.43 and 0.31 for GRIP/BW.
CONCLUSIONS: Handgrip and knee extension strength are both important predictors of functional performance in older adults. In assisted living facilities only, knee extension strength was clearly more predictive than handgrip strength. Both cut-off values appear to be highly sensitive to screen for functionally relevant muscle weakness in older adults.