INTRODUCTION: Upper extremity dysfunction and balance problem are two important symptoms that are common in individuals with multiple sclerosis and reduce their quality of life. However, there is limited evidence of a direct relationship between these two symptoms. Therefore, this study aims to reveal the relationship between balance and upper extremity function, which is essential for pwMS.
METHODS: Nine hundred and sixty-six patients were included [681 (70.5%) female, 285 (29.5%) male]. The Nine-Hole Peg Test (9HPT) was applied to evaluate upper extremity function. With the Activity-Specific Balance Confidence (ABC) Scale patients evaluated their confidence in their balance during activities and balance was tested with the The Timed Up and Go (TUG) test.
RESULTS: There was a significant moderate positive correlation between the 9HPT and TUG (rho=0.566) and a moderate negative correlation with ABC score (rho=-0.464) in total participants. However, while there was a significant moderate negative correlation between 9HPT and ABC score in relapsing form, there was no relationship between 9HPT and TUG in pwMS with progressive form.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: There is a significant relationship between upper extremity function and balance. In addition, the trunk, upper and lower extremities should be considered as a whole, since distal stabilization cannot be achieved without poximal stabilization. Consideration should be given to the upper extremity within the scope of balance assessments.