Concern about falling is associated with step length in persons with multiple sclerosis

A. Kalron, L. Frid, M. Gurevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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. Aim of the study was to determine if fear of falling is associated with spatio-temporal gait parameters in persons with MS. Design. Cross sectional study with a control group. Settings. Multiple Sclerosis Center, Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel. Methods. One-hundred and thirty relapsing-remitting patients diagnosed with MS, 79 women and 51 men aged 42.6 (SD=11.9), participated in this investigation. Twenty-five healthy subjects, 14 women and 11 men aged 38.5 (SD= 12.3), served as controls. Spatio-temporal parameters of gait were studied using the GAITRite™ 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). Conclusion. 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Accidental falls
  • Gait
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Postural balance

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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