The impact of dynamic balance measures on walking performance in multiple sclerosis

Nora E. Fritz, Rhul Evans R. Marasigan, Peter A. Calabresi, Scott D. Newsome, Kathleen M. Zackowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Static posture imbalance and gait dysfunction are common in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). Although the impact of strength and static balance on walking has been examined, the impact of dynamic standing balance on walking in MS remains unclear. Objective: To determine the impact of dynamic balance, static balance, sensation, and strength measures on walking in individuals with MS. Methods: Fifty-two individuals with MS (27 women; 26 relapsing-remitting; mean age = 45.6 ± 10.3 years; median Expanded Disability Status Scale score = 3.5) participated in posturography testing (Kistler-9281 force plate), hip flexion, hip extension, ankle dorsiflexion strength (Microfet2 hand-held dynamometer), sensation (Vibratron II), and walk velocity (Optotrak Motion Analysis System). Analyses included, Mann-Whitney, Spearman correlation coefficients, and multiple regression. Results: All measures were abnormal in individuals with MS when compared with norms (P < .05). Static balance (eyes open, feet together [EOFT]), anterior-posterior (AP) dynamic sway, and hip extension strength were strongly correlated with walking velocity (AP sway r = 0.68; hip extension strength r = 0.73; EOFT r = -0.40). Together, AP dynamic sway (ρr = 0.71; P < .001), hip extension strength (ρr = 0.54; P < .001), and EOFT static balance (ρr = -0.41; P = .01) explained more than 70% of the variance in walking velocity (P < .001). Conclusions: AP dynamic sway affects walking performance in MS. A combined evaluation of dynamic balance, static balance, and strength may lead to a better understanding of walking mechanisms and the development of strategies to improve walking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-69
Number of pages8
JournalNeurorehabilitation and neural repair
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 19 2015


  • Dynamic balance
  • Gait
  • Sensation
  • Static balance
  • Strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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