Risk factors for falling among people aged 45 to 90 years with multiple sclerosis

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2006 Sep;87(9):1274-9; quiz 1287. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2006.06.002.


Objective: To determine the factors associated with an increased likelihood of reporting a fall in the past 6 months among people between the ages of 45 and 90 who have multiple sclerosis (MS).

Design: Cross-sectional descriptive design by using telephone surveys.

Setting: States of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.

Participants: Total of 1089 people with MS identified through the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the MS registry maintained by the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measure: Self-reported fall to the ground in the past 6 months.

Results: Exactly 52.2% of participants reported a fall in the past 6 months. Factors associated with an increased risk of a fall included being male, fear of falling, variable or deteriorating MS status in the past year, never or occasional use of a wheelchair, problems with balance or mobility, poor concentration or forgetfulness, and incontinence of bladder.

Conclusions: There are a number of factors associated with an increased risk of falling among people aging with MS that are amenable to intervention and therefore warrant the attention of health care providers serving that population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class