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Movement strategies for maintaining standing balance during arm tracking in people with multiple sclerosis. J Neurophysiol 2014 Oct 01;112(7):1656-66



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The purpose of this study was to quantify hip and ankle movement strategies during a standing arm tracking task in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Full-body kinematics and kinetics were assessed with motion analysis cameras and force plates in nine MS and nine age-matched control subjects. While standing, participants used their dominant hand to track a target moving around a large horizontal or vertical figure eight on a screen in front of them. The target moved at constant speed, or linearly increasing speeds, with a frequency between 0.05 Hz and 0.35 Hz. Hip and ankle moments and angles during tracking were calculated from kinematic and kinetic measurements. Ratios of peak-to-peak (PP) hip/ankle moments (kinetics) and angles (kinematics) were calculated to determine the strategies of the hips and ankles used to maintain balance during arm movements. Center of mass (CoM) root mean square (RMS) acceleration was calculated as a measure of overall balance performance. The MS group produced larger PP hip/ankle moments at all speeds compared with the control group (P < 0.05). The CoM RMS acceleration increased with tracking speed for both groups but was not significantly different between groups. Additionally, the ratios of hip to ankle moments were highly correlated with the Berg Balance Scale during horizontal steady-speed tracking in MS. These results suggest that people with MS increase the use of the hip during standing arm tracking compared with age-matched control subjects. This adapted strategy might allow people with MS to achieve balance performance similar to control subjects, possibly increasing the importance of the hip in maintaining balance during voluntary movements.

Author List

Chua MC, Hyngstrom AS, Ng AV, Schmit BD


Allison Hyngstrom PhD Associate Professor in the Physical Therapy department at Marquette University
Alexander V. Ng PhD Associate Professor in the Exercise Science department at Marquette University
Brian Schmit PhD Professor in the Biomedical Engineering department at Marquette University

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Biomechanical Phenomena
Middle Aged
Multiple Sclerosis
Postural Balance