Association Between Fatigue and Motor Exertion in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis - a Prospective Study
Fatigue in multiple sclerosis (MS) is conceived as a multidimensional construct. Objectives: This study aims to describe the changes of balance and gait parameters after 6 min of walking (6 MW) as potential quantitative markers for perceptions of state fatigue and trait fatigue in MS. Methods: A total of 19 patients with MS (17 with fatigue) and 24 healthy subjects underwent static posturography, gait analysis, and ratings of perceived exertion before and after 6 MW. Results: 6 MW was perceived
... 6 MW was perceived as exhaustive, but both groups featured more dynamic comfortable speed walking after 6 MW. Shorter stride length at maximum speed and increased postural sway after 6 MW indicated fatigability of balance and gait in MS group only. While most changes were related to higher levels of perceived exertion after 6 MW (state fatigue), higher fatigue ratings (trait fatigue) were only associated with less increase in arm swing at comfortable speed. Further analysis revealed different associations of trait fatigue and performance fatigability with disability and motor functions. Performance fatigability was most closely related to the Expanded Disability Status Scale, while for trait fatigue, the strongest correlations were seen with balance function and handgrip strength. Conclusions: Fatigability of performance was closely related to perceptions of exertion after 6 MW (state fatigue) and disability in MS but distinct from fatigue ratings, conceived as trait fatigue. Our study identified postural sway, arm swing during gait, and hand grip strength as unexpected potential motor indicators of fatigue ratings in MS.