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Vol. 36 No. 3, July 1999

Abstract - Gait characteristics of individuals with multiple sclerosis before and after a 6-month aerobic training program

Mary M. Rodgers, PhD, PT; Janet A. Mulcare, PhD; Deborah L. King, PhD; Thomas Mathews, MD; Satyendra C. Gupta, MD; Roger M. Glaser, PhD

Department of Physical Therapy, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD; Department of Physical Therapy, Andrews University, Dayton, OH; Department of Health/Human Development, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT; Neurology and Non-invasive Cardiology Services, Dayton VA Medical Center, Dayton, OH; Institute for Rehabilitation Research and Medicine, Departments of Physiology and Biophysics, Wright State University School of Medicine, Dayton, OH

Abstract--Individuals who have multiple sclerosis (MS) typically experience problems with physical activities such as walking, resulting from the combined effects of skeletal muscle weakness, sensory disturbances, spasticity, gait ataxia, and reduction in aerobic capacity. The aim of this study was to determine whether a 6-mo exercise program designed for aerobic conditioning might also affect gait abnormalities in individuals with MS. Subjects included 18 individuals with MS who presented a range of disability. Passive range of motion (PROM) in the lower limbs was measured and gait analyzed before and after exercise conditioning. Three-dimensional kinematics, ground reaction forces (GRF), and electromyographic information were acquired as subjects walked at self-selected velocities. Hip PROM increased following conditioning. Mean walking velocity, cadence, and posterior shear GRF (push-off force) decreased. During walking, maximum ankle dorsiflexion decreased and ankle plantarflexion increased. Total knee flexion/extension range during the walking cycle decreased slightly as did maximum hip extension. Results suggest this 6-mo training program had minimal effect on gait abnormalities.

Key words: cardiorespiratory fitness, gait, neurological, rehabilitation.


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