Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience abnormal gait patterns and reduced physical activity. The purpose of this study was to determine if an elliptical exercise intervention for patients with MS would change joint kinetics during gait toward healthy control values. Gait analysis was performed on patients with MS (n = 24) before and after completion of 15 sessions of supervised exercise. Joint torques and powers were calculated, while also using walking velocity as a covariate, to determine the effects of elliptical exercise on lower extremity joint kinetics during gait. Results show that elliptical exercise significantly altered joint torques at the ankle and hip and joint powers at the ankle during stance. The change in joint power at the ankle indicates that, after training, patients with MS employed a walking strategy that is more similar to that of healthy young adults. These results support the use of elliptical exercise as a gait training tool for patients with MS.
Jessie M. Huisinga (Corresponding Author) is currently with the Landon Center on Aging, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS. Kendra K. Schmid is with the College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE. Mary L. Filipi is with the College of Nursing, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE. Nicholas Stergiou is with the College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, and with the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility, Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE.