Background: Slipping is one of the leading causes of falls among older adults. Older adults are considered to walk with a small anteroposterior (AP) component and a large mediolateral (ML) component of the required coefficient of friction (RCOF) owing to a short step length and a wide step width, respectively. However, limited information is available. Research question: What are the effects of aging on the resultant RCOF (RCOF res ) and its ML (RCOF ML ) and AP (RCOF AP ) components during straight walking? Methods: We used the kinetic and kinematic data of 188 participants aged 20–77 years from a publicly available database (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology Gait Database 2015). The participants were divided into the following three groups: young group (n = 56; age range, 20–34 years), middle-aged group (n = 50; age range, 35–64 years), and old group (n = 82; age range, 65–77 years). Results: The RCOF res and RCOF AP were lower in the old group than in the other groups, indicating a lower slip risk in this group. However, the RCOF ML was higher and the step width was greater in the old group than in the other groups. The higher RCOF ML and lower RCOF AP in the old group might be associated with slips in a more lateral direction. Significance: Our findings suggest that older adults have a high risk of slipping in a more lateral direction. Shoes with high-slip resistance in the lateral direction are recommended to prevent hazardous lateral slips among older adults.
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