Abstract

Falls are highly prevalent for people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and result in a range of negative consequences such as injury, activity curtailment, reduced quality of life, increased need for care and time off work. This narrative review aims to summarise key literature and to discuss future work needed in the area of falls prevention for people with MS. The incidence of falls is estimated to be over 50%; similar to the rate of falls in adults over 80 years. The consequences of falls are considerable as rate of injury is high, and fear of falling and low self-efficacy are significant problems that lead to activity curtailment. A wide range of physiological, personal and environmental factors have been highlighted as potential risk factors and predictors of falls. Falls are individual and multifactorial, and hence approaches to interventions will likely need to adopt a multi-factorial approach. However, the literature to date has largely focused on exercise-based interventions, with newer more comprehensive interventions using both education and exercise showing promising results. Several gaps remain in the topic of falls in MS and in particular the lack of standardisation of definitions and outcome measures to enable data pooling and comparison. In future, the involvement of people with MS in the design and evaluation of programmes is essential, as are approaches to intervention development that consider implementation from the outset.

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