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01-12-2020 | Review | Uitgave 1/2020 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2020

Research on lower extremity health in patients with multiple sclerosis: a systematic scoping review

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2020
Minna Stolt, Anne-Marie Laitinen, Juhani Ruutiainen, Helena Leino-Kilpi
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Multiple sclerosis (MS) often affects ambulation and the function of the lower limbs. However, little is known about how much research has been conducted on lower extremity health in patients with MS.


To analyse empirical studies and their evidence on lower extremity health in patients with MS, in order to identify the need for future studies in key areas.


A systematic scoping review was conducted. A literature search of Medline (PubMed), CINAHL (EBSCO) and the Cochrane Library databases was performed. The search covered the period up to 15 January 2020 from the earliest records available. This led to the inclusion of 42 empirical articles. The data were analysed using content analysis and quantification techniques.


The research on lower extremity health focused primarily on two main areas: gait and lower extremity muscle strength. Lower extremity health was assessed using a variety of methods, most of which consisted of objective physical tests and gait analysis. Patients with MS had many problems with the health of their lower extremities, which manifested in walking difficulties, balance problems, muscle weaknesses and spasticity. In the feet, pes cavus, claw toes, oedema and altered foot sensation were common.


MS affects lower limb and foot health, and these problems can affect patients’ daily lives. However, the extent of these problems is poorly understood, partly due to the dearth of research on lower limb and foot health. Therefore, further research is warranted in order to better understand the impact of MS on foot and lower limb health in everyday life.

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