Indexed on: 03 Jun '17Published on: 03 Jun '17Published in: Human Movement Science
Gait disorders in multiple sclerosis (MS) are well studied; however, no previous study has described upper limb movements during gait. However, upper limb movements have an important role during locomotion and can be altered in MS patients due to direct MS lesions or mechanisms of compensation. The aim of this study was to describe the arm movements during gait in a population of MS patients with low disability compared with a healthy control group.In this observational study we analyzed the arm movements during gait in 52 outpatients (mean age: 39.7±9.6years, female: 40%) with relapsing-remitting MS with low disability (mean EDSS: 2±1) and 25 healthy age-matched controls using a 3-dimension gait analysis.MS patients walked slower, with increased mean elbow flexion and decreased amplitude of elbow flexion (ROM) compared to the control group, whereas shoulder and hand movements were similar to controls. These differences were not explained by age or disability.Upper limb alterations in movement during gait in MS patients with low disability can be characterized by an increase in mean elbow flexion and a decrease in amplitude (ROM) for elbow flexion/extension. This upper limb movement pattern should be considered as a new component of gait disorders in MS and may reflect subtle motor deficits or the use of compensatory mechanisms.