Gait and balance problems are common in patients with multiple sclerosis, leading to high risk for falls. Local Dynamic Stability (LDS), a non-linear gait stability index, has been advocated as an early indicator of risk for falls. With this longitudinal study over three weeks, we aimed to assess the responsiveness of Local Dynamic Stability to a rehabilitation program and to compare it to other measures.
Eighteen patients (mean 54 years, median EDSS score: 5) participated. They were admitted to inpatient rehabilitation and received a three weeks individually tailored program. They performed a 3-minute walking test at the beginning and at the end of the stay, as well as pain, wellbeing, fatigue, and balance assessment. The Local Dynamic Stability was computed from the acceleration signals measured with a 3D-accelerometer.
At the end of the rehabilitation process, patients reported reduced pain (Effect Size: −0.7), fatigue (ES:-0.6), and increased wellbeing (ES: 1.1). A small positive effect on static balance was observed (ES: 0.3). LDS was improved (ES: 0.6), and the effect was higher than walking speed improvement (ES: 0.4).
The Local Dynamic Stability seemed responsive to assess rehabilitation effects in patients with multiple sclerosis. It could constitute a valuable gait quality index, which could evaluate potential effects of rehabilitation on fall risk.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN69803702.