Background An alternative method suggested to assess changes in walking in people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) is evaluating gait variability. This is a credible option since gait variability reflects to some degree the quality of gait control. Objective Examine the impact of disability on gait variability in PwMS. Methods In this cross-sectional study, the data pool was divided into seven levels of disability based on the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score, ranging from 0 to 6.5. Gait variability was studied using an electronic mat. Results The final analysis included 381 PwMS (249 women); mean age 44.0 years. Non-significant differences were observed between the EDSS subgroups at the lower end of the spectrum (EDSS 0-3.5) in all gait variability parameters. In contrast, PwMS in the EDSS 5.0-5.5 group demonstrated a significant increase in variability of step length (∼ 151%), single support (∼ 93%) and step time (142%) compared with those who scored 0-3.5. Moreover, participants in the EDSS 5.0-5.5 group had elevated step length variability compared to the EDSS 4.0-4.5 group (9.3 (S.E. = 2.2) vs. 5.5 (S.E. = 0.4), P-value = 0.005). Conclusion We encourage clinicians to follow-up on the gait variability score as it appears to reflect mobility deterioration in PwMS.
- Gait variability
- Multiple sclerosis