Background: Automatic postural responses are critical to prevent falls after a loss of balance. Although responses have been shown to be delayed in people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS), the degree to which other aspects of these movements are impacted by MS remains unknown. Research Question: Do responses to in-place support-surface perturbations differ in PwMS compared to neurotypical adults? Are these responses related to a functional measure of postural response performance- center of mass (COM) displacement?. Method: 52 PwMS and 20 neurotypical, age-matched adults (NA) experienced backward support surface perturbations resulting in forward loss of balance and requiring an in-place response. Center of pressure (COP) and torque were calculated from force plates while center of mass (COM) approximations were collected via motion capture. Primary outcomes were maximal torque production at the foot and its timing, rate, and onset. Results: PwMS and NA demonstrated no differences in maximal torque production (p = 0.79), timing of maximal torque (p = 0.29), rate of torque development (p = 0.76), or the onset of AP COP movement (p = 0.44). There was a significant negative association between the rate of torque development and forward COM displacement in both groups (Control: r=-0.64, p = 0.002; MS: r=-0.35, p = 0.01). Larger maximal torque production was also associated with smaller COM displacement in PwMS (r=-0.33, p = 0.02). Conclusion: Torque profiles in response to backward support surface translations resulting in feet in-place responses were similar in people with mild MS and neurotypical adults. The rate of development and maximal torque were however correlated to functional postural response outcomes. These findings suggest that while not worse in PwMS during in-place perturbations, force-responses seem to be important predictors of the effectiveness of reactive postural control responses.
- Automatic postural responses
- Multiple sclerosis
- Reactive postural control
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine