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Background: Fatigue, inactivity, and falls are major health issues for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). We examined the extent to which fatigue and low walking activity are associated with quality of life and increased fall risk in people with MS. Methods: People with MS (N = 210, aged 21–74 years) were categorized as having either high or low reported fatigue and walking activity levels and were then followed up for falls using monthly fall diaries for 6 months. Results: A high level of fatigue was significantly associated with higher MS Disease Steps scores, worse balance, high composite physiological (Physiological Profile Assessment) fall risk scores, greater fear of falling, lower World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS) quality of life scores, and more prospectively recorded falls. Low walking activity was significantly associated with higher MS Disease Steps scores, reduced proprioception, worse standing and leaning balance, slow stepping, slow gait speed, worse fine motor control, high Physiological Profile Assessment fall risk scores, more fear of falling, and lower WHODAS quality of life scores. Conclusions: Increased fatigue and low walking activity levels were significantly associated with increased fall risk and lower quality of life in people with MS. Interventions aimed at addressing fatigue and inactivity may have multiple benefits for this group.


School of Exercise Science

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Journal Article

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