Objective: Gait and balance dysfunction frequently occurs early in the multiple sclerosis (MS) disease course. Hence, we sought to determine the longitudinal relationships among quantitative measures of gait and balance in individuals with MS. Methods: Fifty-seven ambulatory individuals with MS (28 relapsing-remitting, 29 progressive) were evaluated using posturography, quantitative sensorimotor and gait measures, and overall MS disability with the Expanded Disability Status Scale at each session. Results: Our cohort's age was 45.8 ± 10.4 years (mean ± SD), follow-up time 32.8 ± 15.4 months, median Expanded Disability Status Scale score 3.5, and 56% were women. Poorer performance on balance measures was related to slower walking velocity. Two posturography measures, the anterior-posterior sway and sway during static eyes open, feet apart conditions, were significant contributors to walk velocity over time (approximate R 2 0.95), such that poorer performance on the posturography measures was related to slower walking velocity. Similarly, the anterior-posterior sway and sway during static eyes closed, feet together conditions were also significant contributors to the Timed 25-Foot Walk performance over time (approximate R 2 0.83). Conclusions: This longitudinal cohort study establishes a strong relationship between clinical gait measures and posturography. The data show that increases in static posturography and reductions in dynamic posturography are associated with a decline in walk velocity and Timed 25-Foot Walk performance over time. Furthermore, longitudinal balance measures predict future walking performance. Quantitative walking and balance measures are important additions to clinical testing to explore longitudinal change and understand fall risk in this progressive disease population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology