Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Evaluating Near-Fallers and Fallers with MS

Mult Scler Relat Disord; ePub 2017 Nov 21; Fritz, et al

Near-fallers and fallers with multiple sclerosis (MS) reported similar circumstances surrounding fall events and demonstrated similar performance on standard timed walking tests, a recent study found. To that end, clinicians monitoring individuals with MS should consider evaluation of the circumstances surrounding falls in combination with quantitative walking measures to improve determination of fall risk and appropriate rehabilitation interventions. In a single visit, 135 MS participants completed the Hopkins Falls Grading Scale, a custom questionnaire investigating circumstances surrounding falls and near-falls, and performed the Timed Up and Go and Timed 25-Foot Walk tests. Researchers found:

  • 30% of individuals reported falls, while 44% reported near-falls over a 1-year period.
  • Non-fallers completed the walking tests more quickly than near-fallers and fallers; near-fallers and fallers demonstrated similar motor profiles.
  • Individuals were more likely to sustain a fall rather than a near-fall under the following circumstances: transferring outside the home and tripping over an obstacle.
  • Performing 1-second slower on the walking tests increased the odds of a history of a fall by 6–20%.


Fritz NE, Eloyan A, Baynes M, Newsome SD, Calabresi PA, Zachowski KM. Distinguishing among multiple sclerosis fallers, near-fallers and non-fallers. [Published online ahead of print November 21, 2017]. Mult Scler Relat Disord. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2017.11.019.