Sensitive Identification of Asymmetries and Neuromuscular Deficits in Lower Limb Function in Early Multiple Sclerosis

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BACKGROUND: In the early stages of multiple sclerosis (MS), there are no objective sensitive functional assessments to identify and quantify early subclinical neuromuscular deficits and lower limb strength asymmetries during complex movements. Single-countermovement jumps (SLCMJ), a maximum single leg vertical jump, on a force plate allow functional evaluation of unilateral lower limb performance in performance diagnostics and could therefore provide early results on asymmetries in MS.

OBJECTIVE: Objective evaluation of early lower limb neuromuscular deficits and asymmetries in people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) using SLCMJ on a force plate.

METHODS: A study was conducted with pwMS (N = 126) and healthy controls (N = 97). All participants performed 3 maximal SLCMJs on a force plate. Temporal, kinetic, and power jump parameters were collected. The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) was performed on all participants. A repeated measures analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with age, Body-Mass-Index, and gender as covariates was used.

RESULTS: PwMS with normal muscle strength according to the manual muscle tests showed significantly reduced SLCMJ performance compared to HC. In both groups, jumping performance differed significantly between the dominant and non-dominant leg, with higher effect size for pwMS. A significant interaction effect between leg dominance and group was found for propulsive time, where the pwMS showed an even higher difference between the dominant and non-dominant leg compared to HC. Furthermore, there was a significant small correlation between leg asymmetries and EDSS in pwMS.

CONCLUSION: The study shows that the SLCMJ on a force plate is suitable for the early detection of subclinical lower limb neuromuscular deficits and strength asymmetries in MS.


Original languageEnglish
Article number15459683241245964
JournalNeurorehabilitation and neural repair
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Apr 2024

External IDs

unpaywall 10.1177/15459683241245964
Scopus 85190520089