Muscle strength and falls in fibromyalgia

This research has shown that women with fibromyalgia have reduced lower limb muscle strength and a high prevalence of falls.
Their lower limb muscle strength affects balance and agile movement and also knee extension and impacts on quality of life and physical activity level.

falls and fibromyalgia

This study - Functional capacity, muscle strength and falls in women with fibromyalgia - was conducted by researchers at Sector of Biological Sciences, Physical Education Department/Center for Motor Behaviour Studies, Federal University of ParanĂ¡, Curitiba, ParanĂ¡, Brazil.


Patients with fibromyalgia have difficulty with activities of daily living, they exhibit reduced muscle strength and high incidence of reported falls. 
The objective of this study was to evaluate the functional performance and lower limb muscle strength in women with fibromyalgia and determine the relationship between muscle strength and falls.


36 women participated in the study: 16 had fibromyalgia and 16 were the healthy control group.  
Their physical activity level, prevalence of falls, pain intensity, and fibromyalgia's impact on quality of life were assessed. 
The peak torque and the rate of torque development were determined in maximal voluntary isometric contraction (hip, knee and ankle joints) using a load cell. 
Muscle torque is the force applied by the muscles. Maximum voluntary isometric contraction is a standardized method for measurement of muscle strength in patients with neuromuscular disease. An example of an isometric contraction would be carrying an object in front of you.
A load cell is used to convert mechanical force into a measurable electrical output.
The 30 second chair stand, 8 ft up and go, sit and reach, and functional reach tests were used to characterize functional performance.
The 30 second chair stand tests leg strength and endurance  


Women with fibromyalgia showed deficits in:
  • lower limb muscle strength, 
  • balance 
  • agility 
  • knee extension peak torque
  • rate of torque development
  • hip adduction 
Hip extension, rate of torque development, duration of fibromyalgia symptoms, overall pain, knee pain, and fibromyalgia impact were strong predictors of the number of falls in patients with fibromyalgia when considered collectively.
There was a high prevalence of falls in the fibromyalgia population.

Muscle strength and falls in fibromyalgia


  1. Interesting abstract for the study. It does seem like a chicken and egg argument though... thanks

  2. Yes I think I know what you mean - hadn't thought of it that way - which came first fibro or weak legs?


Thanks for your input