INTRODUCTION: Approximately 66% of people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) have upper extremity dysfunction that is underestimated in the evaluation and treatment process. Gait interference is another important motor problem identified. In pwMS, changes seen in gait parameters include decreased stride length, decreased cadence, and decreased joint range of motion. Although the relationship between gait and arm swing has been investigated in the general population, the existing relationship has not been clearly demonstrated for pwMS. This study aimed to examine the relationship between upper extremity function and gait in pwMS.
METHODS: The study included 29 pwMS followed at the outpatient Multiple Sclerosis Clinic of Dokuz Eylul University Hospital. The arm function in MS questionnaire (AMSQ), nine-hole peg test (N-HPT), and Jamar hand dynamometer were used for upper extremity assessment. Gait was assessed with weekly step count according to the SenseWear armband (SWA) and preference-based MS index (PMSI) walking subparameter. The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), age, sex, and disease duration were recorded. The partial correlation controlling for the EDSS, age, sex, and disease duration was used.
RESULTS: The clinical and demographic profiles of the participants were as follows: mean age, 44.41±11.30; mean EDSS score, 3.34±1.68; mean disease duration, 12.44±9.63; mean N-HPT, 25.72±7.13; mean Jamar score, 20.94±9.12; mean PMSI, 0.65±0.24; mean step count, 29037.9±18638.62; mean AMSQ score, 68.86±32.40. A moderately negative correlation was found between SWA and AMSQ (r=-0.483, p=0.017). Moreover, a moderately positive correlation was found between AMSQ and PMSI walking sub parameter (r=0.430, p=0.036).
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: The results of this study revealed no significant relationship between upper extremity performance-based measurement and gait, whereas a significant relationship was noted between upper extremity function and gait in the self-reported assessment.