Peripheral nerve function and lower extremity muscle power in older men

Rachel E. Ward, Paolo Caserotti, Kimberly Faulkner, Robert M. Boudreau, Sasa Zivkovic, Christine Lee, Bret H. Goodpaster, Peggy M. Cawthon, Anne B. Newman, Jane A. Cauley, Elsa S. Strotmeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective To assess whether sensorimotor peripheral nerve function is associated with muscle power in community-dwelling older men. Design Longitudinal cohort study with 2.3±0.3 years of follow-up. Setting One clinical site. Participants Participants (n=372; mean age ± SD, 77.2±5.1y; 99.5% white; body mass index, 27.9±3.7kg/m2; power, 1.88±0.6W/kg) at 1 site of the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study (N=5994). Interventions Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures A nerve function ancillary study was performed 4.6±0.4 years after baseline. Muscle power was measured using a power rig. Peroneal motor nerve conduction amplitude, distal motor latency, and mean f-wave latency were measured. Sensory nerve function was assessed using 10-g and 1.4-g monofilaments and sural sensory nerve conduction amplitude and distal latency. Peripheral neuropathy symptoms at the leg and feet were assessed by self-report. Results After adjustments for age, height, and total body lean and fat mass, 1 SD lower motor (β=-.07, P<.05) and sensory amplitude (β=-.09, P<.05) and 1.4-g (β=-.11, P<.05) and 10-g monofilament insensitivity (β=-.17, P<.05) were associated with lower muscle power/kg. Compared with the effect of age on muscle power (β per year, -.05; P<.001), this was equivalent to aging 1.4 years for motor amplitude, 1.8 years for sensory amplitude, 2.2 years for 1.4-g monofilament detection, and 3.4 years for 10-g detection. Baseline 1.4-g monofilament detection predicted a greater decline in muscle power/kg. Short-term change in nerve function was not associated with concurrent short-term change in muscle power/kg. Conclusions Worse sensory and motor nerve function were associated with lower muscle power/kg and are likely important for impaired muscle function in older men. Monofilament sensitivity was associated with a greater decline in muscle power/kg, and screening may identify an early risk for muscle function decline in late life, which has implications for disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)726-733
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Aged
  • Motor neurons
  • Muscle weakness
  • Peripheral nerves
  • Rehabilitation
  • Sensory function
  • Sensory neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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