Research: Walking Speed impacts activity

Yildiz M. The impact of slower walking speed on activities of daily living in patients with multiple sclerosis. Int J Clin Pract. 2012; 66:1088-94.

Aims:  To identify the relevance and impact of walking speed (WS) over a short distance on activities of daily living (ADLs) in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). 

Methods:  An internet-administered survey of MS patients in four countries was distributed to 605 individuals in 2010. Participants had MS for > 5 years and must have reported difficulty walking as a result of MS. The impact of MS on walking and the effects of WS on ADLs were assessed based upon responses (scored on a scale of 1-10) to five questions and categorised post hoc as: high (8-10), moderate (4-7) or low (1-3) impact/importance. 

Results:  Of the participants who completed the survey (n = 112), 60% were female patients, 63% were aged ≥ 45 years, and 55% had relapsing-remitting MS. Approximately, half of participants reported a high impact of MS on their general walking ability (46%) and their ability to increase WS over a short distance (55%). Up to 53% of participants reported avoiding ADLs because of concerns about WS; within this cohort, older male patients and patients with secondary-progressive MS were highly represented. 

Discussion:  These results, which highlight the importance of WS to patients with MS and emphasise the impact of WS on health-related quality of life and ADLs, underscore the importance of clinical measures of WS, such as the timed 25-foot walk, in assessing walking in MS patients. 

Conclusion:  Walking speed over a short distance has a significant impact on activities of daily living for patients with MS.

The conclusions say it all!