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Treadmill training for individuals with multiple sclerosis: a pilot randomised trial
  1. M van den Berg1,
  2. H Dawes2,
  3. D T Wade3,
  4. M Newman2,
  5. J Burridge4,
  6. H Izadi2,
  7. C M Sackley1
  1. 1University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK
  3. 3Oxford Centre for Enablement, Oxford, UK
  4. 4University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M van den Berg
 Research Physiotherapist, School of Health Sciences, University of Birmingham, 52 Pritchatts Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK; m.e.vandenberg{at}


This pilot study investigated whether 4 weeks of aerobic treadmill training in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) improved mobility and reduced fatigue. Individuals with MS were recruited to this prospective, randomised controlled trial. Individuals were assessed at baseline, week 7 and 12 with a 10 metre timed walk, a 2 minute walk, the Rivermead Mobility Index, and the Fatigue Severity Scale. After a pre-assessment familiarisation session and a baseline assessment, individuals were randomly allocated to an initial intervention or delayed intervention group. Treadmill training consisted of 4 weeks of supervised aerobic exercise delivered weeks 3–6 in the immediate group and 8–11 in the delayed group. Of the initial 19 recruits, 16 individuals completed the study. There was a significant difference in walking endurance between the delayed and immediate groups at baseline (p<0.05). On reassessment in week 7, decreases in 10 metre walk time were found in both groups, which was significant in the immediate group (p<0.05). The 2 minute walk distance significantly increased in both groups (p<0.05). In the training group, reassessed at week 12 after training ceased, there was a return towards baseline scores. No significant changes in fatigue scores were found. This study showed that in individuals with MS, aerobic treadmill training is feasible and well tolerated. Walking speed and endurance increased following training with no increase in reported fatigue. Detraining occurred in the period following training. A larger randomised clinical trial is warranted.

  • APMHR, age predicted maximum heart rate
  • FSS, Fatigue Severity Scale
  • GNDS, Guy’s Neurological Disability Scale
  • MS, multiple sclerosis
  • RMI, Rivermead Mobility Index
  • MS
  • treadmill training
  • speed
  • endurance
  • fatigue

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  • Competing interests: none

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