Home > Journals > European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine > Past Issues > European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2015 December;51(6) > European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2015 December;51(6):755-62



Publishing options
To subscribe
Submit an article
Recommend to your librarian


Cite this article as


ORIGINAL ARTICLES   Free accessfree

European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2015 December;51(6):755-62


language: English

Changes of gait parameters following long-term aerobic endurance exercise in mildly disabled multiple sclerosis patients: an exploratory study

Wonneberger M. 1, Schmidt S. 2, 3

1 Schule für Physiotherapie Gummersbach ‑ DAA Gesundheit und Soziales ‑ Gummersbach, Germany; 2 Neurologische Gemeinschaftspraxis Bonn, Gesundheitszentrum St. Johannes, Bonn, Germany; 3 Ruhr‑University of Bochum, Department of Neurology, Knappschafts‑Krankenhaus Langendreer, Bochum, Germany


BACKGROUND: The long-term effects of walking based aerobic endurance exercise on gait parameters have not yet been sufficiently investigated in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).
AIM: To investigate the effects of an aerobic walking exercise program on gait parameters in MS patients over a period of 12 months.
DESIGN: Non-randomized, controlled, exploratory trial.
SETTING: Outpatient, home-based program.
POPULATION: Sixty ambulatory patients with relapsing-remitting MS and an EDSS≤3.5 participating in an individualized twelve month aerobic endurance exercise program were evaluated during a treadmill exercise by video recordings with regard to step cadence, step length and ground contact time at baseline and every three months thereafter for twelve months.
RESULTS: From the 44 patients who completed the study, the ground contact time of the feet was significantly elevated at two load steps (3.2 km/h with 3.5 % slope and 4.8 km/h at 7.5 % incline) after 12 months (P<0.001, ƞp2=0.2; P=0.01, ƞp2=0.1). The step cadence decreased significantly at 3.2 km/h speed with 3.5 % slope (P<0.001, ƞp2=0.2) and the step length increased significantly at the same load step (P<0.001, ƞp2=0.15). Post-hoc analysis revealed no changes in any of the analyzed gait parameters in the internal control group (N.=16) who performed a treadmill exercise after 12 months.
CONCLUSION: Walking based aerobic endurance exercise may contribute to improved gait parameters in MS patients. Further prospective controlled studies are needed to investigate the impact of long-term endurance walking exercise on gait parameters and stability in MS patients.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: The observation that mere walking-based exercise changes gait parameters and could therefore possibly contribute to gait stability without specific balance or muscular training might largely facilitate treatment recommendations for mildly disabled MS patients.

top of page