Department of Physical Therapy Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

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College of Health Care Sciences - Physical Therapy Department

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Purpose: To investigate if a relationship exists between the number of attempted heel rises and the step/stride lengths in the elderly population, using the standing heel rise test as assessment of ankle plantar flexor strength. Also, to investigate what influence other factors such as age, gender, weight, and height have on this relationship.

Subjects: 25 participants (13 females, 12 males) over 65 years of age, with no previously diagnosed impairments that affected their gait.

Methods: Standing heel rise test was the plantar flexor strength assessment. Step/stride lengths were measured using a quantitative gait analysis method, which measured number of steps and stride lengths for a 53ft distance. Pearson's bivariate correlation coefficients calculated for dependent and independent variables.

Results: A strong significant correlation and a positive relationship were found between the amount of heel rises that could be achieved, and the step and stride length. As participants heel rise numbers increased, so did the step and stride lengths. Moderately significant correlations and negative relationships were found between age and heel rise numbers, as well as age and step/stride lengths. As participants' ages increased, their heel rise numbers and step/stride lengths decreased. No significant correlations were found between gender, height, or weight, to heel rise numbers, nor step/stride lengths.

Conclusion: Positive correlations and possible ranges between heel rise numbers and step/stride lengths could help assess risks of falling and lead to additional intervention strategies for the prevention of falls.


Physical Therapy

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