Kalron A, Frid L, Gurevich M. Concern about falling is associated with step length in persons with multiple sclerosis. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2014 Jul [Epub ahead of print]
BACKGROUND: Fear of falling is one of the major concerns of people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Although, it is likely that associations between spatio–temporal gait parameters and fear of falling exist in the MS population, these relationships have never been extensively studied.
AIM: Determine if fear of falling is associated with spatio–temporal gait parameters in persons with MS.
METHODS: One–hundred and thirty relapsing–remitting patients diagnosed with MS, 79 women and 51 men aged 42.6 (S.D=11.9), participated in this investigation. Twenty–five healthy subjects, 14 women and 11 men aged 38.5 (S.D= 12.3), served as controls. Spatio–temporal parameters of gait were studied using the GAITRiteTM system (CIR Systems, Inc. NJ, USA);; Falls Efficacy Scale International (FES–I) was used to assess the level of concern relating to falls. Participants who scored >20 were classified as more concerned (n=83), while those scoring ≤20 were defined as less concerned (n=47).
RESULTS: More concerned participants walked slower, took smaller steps, prolonged double support phase, wider base of support and a shorter single support phase compared to the less concerned group. According to step one of the multiple linear regression model, the spatial gait component accounted for 30.9% of the variance related to fear of falls (F = 56.3, P < 0.001). Step two added the gait temporal component, thus increasing the variance to 36.7% (F = 36.2, P < 0.001). Step three added the gait asymmetry parameters, thus increasing the predictor model to account for 40.3% of the variance in fear of falling (F = 29.6, P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: The present study provides quantitative evidence establishing spatio–temporal gait performance in individuals with MS relative to the level of fear of falling.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: Spatio–temporal gait parameters may aid in assessing the level of fear of falling in people with MS. Step length may also serve as a surrogate outcome for assessing outcomes of interventions aimed at reducing fear of falling in the MS population. performance in individuals with MS relative to the level of fear of falling.
If you are scarred of falling you tend to take shorter strides and change how you walk.