Effect of walking on sand on gait kinematics in individuals with multiple sclerosis

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    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Background Walking in the real-world involves negotiating challenging or uneven surfaces, including sand. This can be challenging for people with Multiple Sclerosis (PWMS) due to motor deficits affecting the lower extremities. The study objective was to characterise kinematic gait adaptations made by PWMS when walking on sand and describe any immediate post-adaptation effects. Methods 17 PWMS (mean age 51.4 ± 5.5, Disease Steps 2.4 ± 1.0), and 14 age-and gender matched healthy adults (HA) took part in a case-control study. 3D gait analysis was conducted using an eight-camera Vicon motion capture system. Each participant completed walking trials over level ground (baseline), sand (gait adaptation response), and again level ground (post-adaptation). Spatiotemporal data and kinematic data for the hip knee and ankle were recorded. Results At baseline PWMS showed significantly less total lower limb flexion (p<0.05) compared to HA. PWMS adapted to walking on sand by significantly increasing hip and knee flexion and ankle dorsiflexion (p<0.05) during swing, resulting in an overall 23° greater total lower limb flexion (p<0.05), reaching values within normal range. During the return to level ground walking values of temporal-spatial and kinematic parameters returned towards baseline values. Conclusions PWMS adapted to walking on sand by increasing lower limb flexion during swing, and returned to their gait pattern to near baseline levels, in a manner similar to but with values not equalling HA. Further work is required to determine whether this mode of walking has potential to act as a gait retraining strategy to increase flexion of the lower limb.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)15-21
    Number of pages7
    JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


    • Gait adaptation
    • Gait pattern
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Sand


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