NMSS Walking Survey
Approximately two thirds of people with MS (65%) report having trouble walking, the inability to walk or difficulty maintaining balance at least twice per week. In addition, a majority of people living with MS report that they experienced walking problems within the first few years after diagnosis. Among people diagnosed with MS within the past five years, 58% report experiencing a mobility issue at least twice a week.
According to the survey findings, younger people with MS are less likely to initiate a conversation about trouble walking with a healthcare provider. On average, people with MS aged 41 or younger who do discuss trouble walking with their doctor initiate the conversation only 46% of the time.
The survey also found that both men and women with MS who report difficulty walking believe that it can put them at risk, but that women are especially concerned that walking problems can be hazardous:
An estimated 78% of these women and 62% of these men report that trouble walking “makes getting around dangerous.”
Additional findings related to falls revealed that:
Among all people with MS, six in ten (61%) report that it has interfered with their ability to work resulting in a loss of personal income. Many people with MS who have trouble walking and are currently employed indicated that they had to make lifestyle changes, such as switching to a new career (21%) or stopping work altogether for a period of time (21%), because of their walking problems.
- Among adults with MS who experience difficulty walking, 60% indicate that they have fallen and 34% of those individuals say that a fall resulted in an injury.
- Typically, people who have experienced falls report having fallen about three times in the prior six months.
- Walking Difficulties Also Shown to Affect Financial and Social Wellness
Survey results also showed:
- 79% of adults with MS who are employed report trouble walking has negatively impacted them in some way at work, including having to take days off, asking for special accommodations or reducing work hours, among others.
- 60% of people with MS who have experienced difficulties walking have had to miss at least one major personal event as a result.
- 32% of people with MS who have difficulty walking report that it has caused them to feel isolated.
"This survey confirms my own clinical experience."