Research: Factors influencing walking speed

Nogueira et al. Factors for lower walking speed in persons with multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler Int. 2013;2013:875648. doi: 10.1155/2013/875648.

Objective. The purpose of this study was to analyze factors related to lower walking speed in persons with multiple sclerosis (PwMS).

Methods. A cross-sectional survey was conducted. The study participants were 120 consecutive PwMS, who were able to walk, even with device assistance. Demographic and clinical data were collected. Walking speed was measured in 10 m walk test. Possible factors were assessed: disability, fatigue, visual functioning (vision), balance confidence, physical activity level, walking impact, cognitive interference, and motor planning (or Praxis is the ability of the brain to conceive, organize, and carry out a sequence of unfamiliar actions)

Results. Lower walking speed was observed in 85% of the patients. Fatigue (41%), recurrent falls (30%), and balance problems were also present, even with mild disability (average EDSS = 2.7). A good level of physical activity was noted in most of the subjects. Dual-task procedure revealed 12% of walking speed reduction. Many participants (70%) imagined greater walking speed than motor execution (mean ≥ 28%). Physical activity level was the only characteristic that demonstrated no significant difference between the groups (lower versus normal walking speed). Many mobility measures were correlated with walking speed; however, disability, balance confidence, and motor planning were the most significant. 

Conclusions. Disability, balance confidence, and motor planning were correlated with lower walking speed.

The conclusions say it all.

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