Despite the pervasive nature of gait impairment in multiple sclerosis (MS), there is limited information concerning the control of gait termination in individuals with MS. The purpose of this investigation was to examine unplanned gait termination with and without cognitive distractors in individuals with MS compared to healthy controls. Thirty-one individuals with MS and 14 healthy controls completed a series of unplanned gait termination tasks over a pressure sensitive walkway under distracting and non-distracting conditions. Individuals with MS were further broken down into groups based on assistive device use: (no assistive device (MSnoAD) n = 18; and assistive device (MSAD) n = 13). Individuals with MS who walked with an assistive device (MSAD: 67.8 ± 15.1 cm/s) walked slower than individuals without an assistive device (MSnoAD: 110.4 ± 32.3 cm/s, p < 0.01) and controls (120.0 ± 30.0 cm/s; p < 0.01). There was a significant reduction in velocity in the cognitively distracting condition (93.4 ± 32.1 cm/s) compared to the normal condition [108.8 ± 36.2 cm/s; F(1,43) = 3.4, p = 0.04]. All participants took longer to stop during the distracting condition (1.7±0.6 s) than the non-distracting condition (1.4 ± 0.4 s; U = 673.0 p < 0.01). After controlling for gait velocity, post-hoc analysis revealed the MSAD group took significantly longer to stop compared to the control group (p = 0.05). Further research investigating the control of unplanned gait termination in MS is warranted.
- Multiple sclerosis
- Unplanned gait termination
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine