Walking speed and endurance in persons with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) were reduced in individuals with longer interspike intervals (ISIs), weaker dorsiflexors, and worse plantar flexor force steadiness, according to a recent study that examined walking performance and disability status in individuals with self-reported walking disabilities due to MS. 23 individuals with RRMS (aged 56±7 years) participated. They completed 1-3 evaluation sessions that involved 2 walking tests (25-ft. walk and 6-min. walk), a manual dexterity test, health-related questionnaires, and measurement of strength, force steadiness, and motor unit discharge characteristics of lower leg muscles. Researchers found:
- There were statistically significant differences between the 3 muscles in mean ISI and ISI distributions during steady submaximal contractions with the plantar flexor and dorsiflexor muscles.
- The regression models explained 40% of the variance in the 6-min. walk distance and 47% of the variance in 25-ft. walk time with 2 or 3 variables that included mean ISI for 1 of the plantar flexor muscles, dorsiflexor strength, and force steadiness.
Almuklass AM, Davis L, Hamilton LD, Vieira TM, Botter A, Enoka RM. Motor unit discharge characteristics and walking performance of individuals with multiple sclerosis. [Published online ahead of print January 3, 2018]. J Neurophysiol. doi:10.1152/jn.00598.2017.
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