Deterioration of specific aspects of gait during the instrumented 6-min walk test among people with multiple sclerosis

S. Shema-Shiratzky, E. Gazit, R. Sun, K. Regev, A. Karni, J. J. Sosnoff, T. Herman, A. Mirelman, Jeffrey M. Hausdorff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Prolonged walking is typically impaired among people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS), however, it is unclear what the contributing factors are or how to evaluate this deterioration. We aimed to determine which gait features become worse during sustained walking and to examine the clinical correlates of gait fatigability in pwMS. Fifty-eight pwMS performed the 6-min walk test while wearing body-fixed sensors. Multiple gait domains (e.g., pace, rhythm, variability, asymmetry and complexity) were compared across each minute of the test and between mild- and moderate-disability patient groups. Associations between the decline in gait performance (i.e., gait fatigability) and patient-reported gait disability, fatigue and falls were also determined. Cadence, stride time variability, stride regularity, step regularity and gait complexity significantly deteriorated during the test. In contrast, somewhat surprisingly, gait speed and swing time asymmetry did not change. As expected, subjects with moderate disability (n = 24) walked more poorly in most gait domains compared to the mild-disability group (n = 34). Interestingly, a group × fatigue interaction effect was observed for cadence and gait complexity; these measures decreased over time in the moderate-disability group, but not in the mild group. Gait fatigability rate was significantly correlated with physical fatigue, gait disability, and fall history. These findings suggest that sustained walking affects specific aspects of gait, which can be used as markers for fatigability in MS. This effect on gait depends on the degree of disability, and may increase fall risk in pwMS. To more fully understand and monitor correlates that reflect everyday walking in pwMS, multiple domains of gait should be quantified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3022-3030
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Accelerometer
  • Body-fixed-sensor
  • Fall risk
  • Fatigability
  • Fatigue
  • Gait
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Walking disability
  • Wearables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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