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Multiple Sclerosis International
Volume 2012, Article ID 240274, 15 pages
Review Article

Treadmill Training in Multiple Sclerosis: Can Body Weight Support or Robot Assistance Provide Added Value? A Systematic Review

1Vakgroep KINE, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 103, 1090 Brussels, Belgium
2Research Group Advanced Rehabilitation Technology and Science (ARTS), Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium

Received 21 February 2012; Accepted 27 March 2012

Academic Editor: H. P. Hartung

Copyright © 2012 Eva Swinnen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. This systematic review critically analyzes the literature on the effectiveness of treadmill training (TT), body-weight-supported TT (BWSTT), and robot-assisted TT (RATT) in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS), with focus on gait-related outcome measurements. Method. Electronic databases (Pubmed, Pedro, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library) and reference lists of articles and narrative reviews were searched. Pre-, quasi- and true-experimental studies were included if adult persons with MS were involved in TT, BWSTT, or RATT intervention studies published before 2012. Descriptive analysis was performed and two researchers scored the methodological quality of the studies. Results. 5 true- and 3 preexperimental studies (mean quality score: 66%) have been included. In total 161 persons with MS were involved (TT, BWSTT, or RATT, 6–42 sessions; 2–5x/week; 3–21 weeks). Significant improvements in walking speed and endurance were reported. Furthermore, improvements of step length, double-support time, and Expanded Disability Status Scale were found. Conclusions. There is a limited number of published papers related to TT in persons with MS, concluding that TT, BWSTT, and RATT improve the walking speed and endurance. However, it is not clear what type of TT is most effective. RCTs with larger but more homogeneous populations are needed.