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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2015 May;70(5):635-40. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glu213. Epub 2014 Nov 27.

Physical function in older men with hyperkyphosis.

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Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of California, San Francisco.
California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, San Francisco.
Geriatric Research Education & Clinical Center, VA Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation Department, Oregon Health and Science University, School of Medicine, Portland.
Departments of Family and Preventive Medicine and Internal Medicine, University of California, San Diego.



Age-related hyperkyphosis has been associated with poor physical function and is a well-established predictor of adverse health outcomes in older women, but its impact on health in older men is less well understood.


We conducted a cross-sectional study to evaluate the association of hyperkyphosis and physical function in 2,363 men, aged 71-98 (M = 79) from the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study. Kyphosis was measured using the Rancho Bernardo Study block method. Measurements of grip strength and lower extremity function, including gait speed over 6 m, narrow walk (measure of dynamic balance), repeated chair stands ability and time, and lower extremity power (Nottingham Power Rig) were included separately as primary outcomes. We investigated associations of kyphosis and each outcome in age-adjusted and multivariable linear or logistic regression models, controlling for age, clinic, education, race, bone mineral density, height, weight, diabetes, and physical activity.


In multivariate linear regression, we observed a dose-related response of worse scores on each lower extremity physical function test as number of blocks increased, p for trend ≤.001. Using a cutoff of ≥4 blocks, 20% (N = 469) of men were characterized with hyperkyphosis. In multivariate logistic regression, men with hyperkyphosis had increased odds (range 1.5-1.8) of being in the worst quartile of performing lower extremity physical function tasks (p < .001 for each outcome). Kyphosis was not associated with grip strength in any multivariate analysis.


Hyperkyphosis is associated with impaired lower extremity physical function in older men. Further studies are needed to determine the direction of causality.


Hyperkyphosis; Kyphosis; Normative aging; Physical function; Physical performance.

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