The relationship between trunk and foot acceleration variability during walking shows minor changes in persons with multiple sclerosis

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Abstract

Background:

Identifying how relationships between variability of upper and lower body segments during walking are altered in persons with multiple sclerosis may uncover specific strategies for maintaining overall stability. The purpose of this study was to examine relationships between trunk and foot acceleration variability during walking in healthy controls and in persons with multiple sclerosis.

Methods:

Linear and nonlinear variability measures were calculated for 40 healthy controls and 40 persons with multiple sclerosis from the acceleration time series recorded by inertial sensors attached to the trunk and foot while subjects walked on a treadmill at self-selected preferred pace.

Findings:

No main effect of group was found for any variability measures. Main effect of location was found for all variability measures, with larger magnitudes of variability at the foot compared to the trunk, and more predictable variability patterns at the foot compared to the trunk. Differences in strength of correlations between trunk and foot accelerations were found between persons with multiple sclerosis and healthy controls in the frontal and sagittal plane. Sample entropy of accelerations at the feet and at the trunk correlated significantly higher in healthy controls than in persons with multiple sclerosis.

Interpretation:

Relationships between variability of trunk and foot accelerations, which may provide a valuable comprehensive description of whole body stability during gait, showed minor changes in persons with MS compared to healthy controls.

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