Falls in People with Multiple Sclerosis

Susan Coote, Laura Comber, Gillian Quinn, Carme Santoyo-Medina, Alon Kalron, Hilary Gunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Falls are highly prevalent in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and result in a range of negative consequences, such as injury, activity curtailment, reduced quality of life, and increased need for care and time off work. This narrative review aims to summarize key literature and to discuss future work needed in the area of fall prevention for people with MS. The incidence of falls in people with MS is estimated to be more than 50%, similar to that in adults older than 80 years. The consequences of falls are considerable because rate of injury is high, and fear of falling and low self-efficacy are significant problems that lead to activity curtailment. A wide range of physiological, personal, and environmental factors have been highlighted as potential risk factors and predictors of falls. Falls are individual and multifactorial, and, hence, approaches to interventions will likely need to adopt a multifactorial approach. However, the literature to date has largely focused on exercise-based interventions, with newer, more comprehensive interventions that use both education and exercise showing promising results. Several gaps in knowledge of falls in MS remain, in particular the lack of standardized definitions and outcome measures, to enable data pooling and comparison. Moving forward, the involvement of people with MS in the design and evaluation of programs is essential, as are approaches to intervention development that consider implementation from the outset. Int J MS Care. 2020;22:247-255.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-255
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of MS Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020


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