Feasibility of a targeted strengthening program to improve gait in people with multiple sclerosis: a brief report

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This study aims to determine feasibility of strengthening muscles that are important contributors to gait for people with multiple sclerosis, yet are not routinely targeted in the literature. An 8-week strengthening intervention targeted ankle plantarflexion, hip abduction, and trunk muscles using a repeated-measures design. Outcomes included satisfaction, adherence, muscle strength, gait speed (timed 25-foot walk), gait endurance (6-min walk test), and self-reported gait-related participation (Multiple Sclerosis Walking Scale-12). Ten participants (Expanded Disability Status Scale: 3.5–5.5) completed the intervention. All participants were at least ‘satisfied’; adherence was 87% (supervised sessions) and 75% (home sessions). All quantitative measures improved: muscle strength (23.1–47.6%, P<0.001–0.039), timed 25-foot walk (−13.4%, P<0.001), 6-min walk test (41.56 m, P=0.019), and Multiple Sclerosis Walking Scale-12 (−10.5, P=0.007). Strengthening of ankle plantarflexion, hip abduction, and trunk muscles was feasible and associated with improvements in gait performance.

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