Intervention: Participants were randomly allocated to either a home-based exercise intervention group (n = 13) or a waiting list control group (n = 14). The exercise group completed exercises targeting lower muscle strength and balance three times a week for 12 weeks. The control group continued normal activity.
Measures: Fall risk (Physiological Profile Assessment scores), balance (Berg Balance Scale), and walking testing prior to and immediately following the 12-week intervention. Each outcome measure was placed in an analysis of covariance with group as the between-subject factor and baseline values as the covariate. Effect sizes were calculated.
Results: Twelve participants from the control group and ten from the exercise group completed the study. There were no related adverse events. Fall risk was found to decrease in the exercise group following the intervention (1.1 SD 1.0 vs. 0.6 SD 0.6) while there was an increase in fall risk in the control group (1.9 SD 1.5 vs. 2.2 SD 1.9). Effect sizes for most outcomes were large (η2 > 0.15).
Conclusions: Home-based exercise was found to be feasible, safe, and effective for reducing physiological fall risk in older adults with multiple sclerosis. Our findings support the implementation of a larger trial to reduce fall risk in persons with multiple sclerosis.