Objective: To elucidate the performance of a shock-absorbing floor material with a mechanical metamaterial (MM-flooring) structure and its effect on the gait and balance of older adults. Methods: The drop-weight impact was applied to evaluate the shock-absorbing performance. The falling weight was adjusted equivalent to the energy exerted on the femur of an older woman when she falls, which was evaluated on the MM-flooring and six other flooring materials. Nineteen healthy people over the age of 65 years participated in the gait and balance evaluations. The timed up and go and two-step tests were adopted as gait performance tests, and the sway-during-quiet-balance test with force plates and the functional reach test (FRT) were adopted as balance tests. All the participants underwent these tests on the MM-flooring, shock-absorbing mat and rigid flooring. Results: The shock-absorbing performance test revealed that MM-flooring has sufficient shock-absorbing performance, and suggesting that it may reduce the probability of fractures in the older people when they fall. The results of the gait performance test showed that the participants demonstrated the same gait performance on the MM-flooring and the rigid floor. In the quiet standing test, MM-flooring did not affect the balance function of the participants to the same extent as the rigid floor, compared with the shock-absorbing mat. In the FRT, no significant differences were found for any of the flooring conditions. Conclusions: MM-flooring has the potential to prevent fractures attributed to falls and does not affect the gait or balance of older adults.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health