Zoe Djajadikarta – Abstract

Ankle proprioception in people with Multiple Sclerosis

Djajadikarta ZJ[1], Gandevia SC[2] and Taylor J[3]
1. Neuroscience Research Australia, Sydney, NSW, Australia
2. Neuroscience Research Australia, Sydney, NSW, Australia
3. Edith Cowan University, Jundaloop, Perth, WA, Australia

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive, neurological disease resulting in demyelination throughout the central nervous system. People with MS often mobilise with difficulty and over 50% fall regularly(1,2). Impaired proprioception at the ankle can contribute to an increased risk of falling(3). This study compared ankle proprioception in people with MS to healthy people.

People with MS (n = 30; 34-78 years; 22 female) and age- and gender-matched healthy controls (n = 30) were recruited. Participants sat with the knee extended and ankle in mid-range. The following outcomes were measured: (1) threshold displacement for detection of passive ankle movement, (2) plantar flexion reaction time to ankle movement, and (3) joint position sense at the ankle.

Participants with MS had impaired mobility (median EDSS = 4.0, IQR = 2). The threshold of movement detection (MS mean = 0.19⁰, SD = 0.21⁰ and control mean = 0.14⁰, SD = 0.12⁰) and joint position sense at the ankle (MS mean error = 13.3⁰, SD = 7.29⁰ and control mean error = 15.1⁰ and SD = 8.73⁰) were not different between groups. Participants with MS had a slower reaction time than control participants (MS mean = 0.37 s, SD = 0.16 s and control mean = 0.26 s, SD = 0.06 s. Mean between-group difference [95% CI]: 0.11 s [0.05 s to 0.17 s]).

Slow reaction time to a perturbation under the foot may increase the risk of falling in people with MS, even if other aspects of ankle proprioception are intact.

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