Assessing lower limb strength and walking mobility in individuals with Multiple Sclerosis

Loss of muscle strength and reduced walking ability are two of the most common impairments in people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), even at early stages of the disease. Regardless of MS type, muscle strength declines as the disease progresses, resulting in gradually reduced walking capacity. There is strong evidence indicating progressive resistance exercise can address strength deficits in people with MS. However, there is insufficient evidence for its benefits in improving balance, gait and walking capacity. 

To date, there are scarce data on which muscles are most affected in the lower limbs in people with MS. Furthermore, the contribution of weakness in different lower limb muscles to impaired gait has not been adequately studied. In consequence, there is a lack of best practice guidance on training programs to improve walking and mobility in people with MS. 

The aims of this project are to assess muscle strength in the lower limbs of people with MS at different disability stages and examine the distribution of muscle weakness in lower limbs of people in this group. 

This knowledge will allow us to then devise and evaluate the effects of a tailored exercise training program targeting identified weak lower limb muscle groups and impaired gait to maximize mobility in people with MS.