Balance task performance is affected in persons with multiple sclerosis (PwMS), but the control strategies used to perform specific tasks are not well understood. The purpose of this study was to evaluate segmental control during quiet standing in PwMS and controls to understand whether MS alters use of the ankle and hip strategies to manage postural sway. Coherence of acceleration between the trunk and legs was evaluated with accelerometers placed on the sacrum and lower leg. Thirty-six PwMS and 20 healthy control subjects performed quiet standing with eyes open and closed while center of pressure (CoP) and acceleration of postural sway was measured. Acceleration frequencies were divided into lower frequencies (≤1.0 Hz) and higher frequencies (>1.0 Hz) to categorize sway characteristics. With eyes open, coherence was significantly lower in PwMS compared to controls at lower frequencies only. With eyes closed, coherence was significantly lower in PwMS compared to controls, who use an ankle strategy at lower frequencies only, at both lower and higher frequencies. Both groups showed decreased coherence with increasing frequency when eyes were open and closed. Coherence was significantly correlated with CoP sway area in PwMS during the eyes closed condition only. The reduced coherence in PwMS during both lower and higher frequency sway indicates PwMS utilize a mixed ankle-hip sway strategy regardless of sway frequency. This is in contrast to sway in healthy subjects which utilizes an ankle strategy at lower frequencies and a mixed strategy at higher frequencies. Lack of adaptability in segmental control strategy likely contributes to abnormal postural control, as reflected by CoP sway patterns, in PwMS.
- Center of pressure
- Neurological disorder
- Postural control
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology