In people with MS around 50 to 60% will have one or more falls in a 12 month period, and a large proportion of these falls result in an injury requiring medical attention. Balance impairment is a problem for about 75% of people with MS.
Fear of falling can also lead to people with MS severely restricting their activities; therefore preventing falls is a high priority.
Many of the symptoms of MS can contribute to the risk of falling, such as balance and mobility impairments, ankle joint contractures, muscle weakness, poor concentration and forgetfulness, urinary urgency and fatigue. Understanding exactly which combination of symptoms poses the greatest risk is absolutely crucial to designing effective interventions to prevent falls.
It is recommended that people with MS would benefit from both aerobic and strengthening exercises at least two times a week to reduce fatigue, improve mobility, and enhance quality of life. There is also evidence that balance can be improved by functional exercises both individually prescribed or in a group exercise class. Exercises that improve balance and also lower limb/core muscle strength and stretching have been found to reduce falls risk.
MS Australia has a range of publications for people with MS including a range of information sheets on MS, its treatment and living with the condition with some resources in other languages (Arabic, Greek, Italian and Spanish).
The list of publications can be accessed at:http://www.mssociety.org.au/information-sheets.asp