Ankle Kinematics and Temporal Gait Characteristics over the Duration of a 6-Minute Walk Test in People with Multiple Sclerosis Who Experience Foot Drop
van der Linden, Marietta
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van der Linden, M., Andreopoulou, G., Scopes, J., Hooper, J. & Mercer, T. (2018) Ankle Kinematics and Temporal Gait Characteristics over the Duration of a 6-Minute Walk Test in People with Multiple Sclerosis Who Experience Foot Drop. Rehabilitation Research & Practice, 2018 [Article ID: 1260852].
Foot drop is a common gait impairment in people with MS (pwMS) but in some foot drop may only occur after a period of prolonged walking and may be a sign of motor fatigability. The purpose of the study was to explore whether, for pwMS, an adapted six-minute walk test (6minWT) would result in an increase in foot drop as measured using electrogoniometry. Sagittal ankle kinematics were recorded for fifteen participants (10 females and 5 males, aged 37-64) with MS (EDSS 4-6) throughout the 6minWT. Ankle kinematics and temporal stride parameters were compared between the first and last 10 gait cycles of the 6minWT. Peak dorsiflexion in swing was significantly reduced at the end of the 6minWT compared to the start, with six of the fifteen participants having a decrease of two degrees or more. Statistically significant changes in temporal stride parameters suggested a decrease in walking speed. Our results suggest that with the protocol used in this study it is feasible to identify patients who experience increased foot drop as a result of a prolonged exercise task.