Lower limb training to improve walking in people with MS

Dr Phu Hoang

Dr Phu Hoang

Neuroscience Research Australia, NSW

| Better treatments | Social And Applied Research | Project | 2021 | Investigator Led Research |


Recent research has highlighted the importance of walking (for those able) and exercise as strategies for people living with MS to maintain wellness. Issues with walking and walking patterns (gait) often lead to consultations with allied health professional such as physiotherapists and exercise specialists. However, there is little information for these therapists on exactly which muscles are affected in the lower limbs and how muscle weakness may contribute to gait as the disease progresses. Additionally, there is a lack of best practice guidance on specific training programs to improve walking and mobility in people living with MS.

Dr Hoang and his team plan to explore the impact of weak muscles on walking patterns in people with MS and aim to develop an effective approach to improve gait. The first part of the study will explore lower limb muscle weakness in people with MS at different stages of the disease. The second part of the study will compare traditional strength training, which is used in current MS therapy, against a more individualised approach targeting commonly seen symptoms in MS, such as footdrop and knee hyperextension. It is hoped that this new knowledge will provide clinicians with more effective interventions to improve mobility for people living with MS and to assist in improved rehabilitation programs for the future.

Progress to Date

Dr Hoang and his team have recruited 71 people living with MS and 30 people living without MS for the first part of their study in assessing lower limb strength and walking ability in individuals with MS. Recruitment is expected to be completed shortly. A report of the study is being prepared for publication while waiting for the results.

Recruitment for the second part of the study is now progressing.

Dr Hoang has published several articles and reports on this study.


  • Psarakis M, Lord SR, Hoang PD. Safety, Feasibility, and Efficacy of an Eccentric Exercise Intervention in People with Multiple Sclerosis with Ankle Contractures. Int J MS Care. 2021 Jan-Feb;23(1):31-36. doi: 10.7224/1537-2073.2019-022.
  • Hoang PD, Psarakis M, Kwah LK, Clarke JL, Gandevia SC, Diong J. Brief report: Passive mechanical properties of gastrocnemius in multiple sclerosis and ankle contracture. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2021 Apr;84:105338. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2021.105338
  • Hoang PD, Lord S, Gandevia S, Menant J. Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) position statement on exercise for people with mild to moderate multiple sclerosis. J Sci Med Sport. 2022 Feb;25(2):146-154. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2021.08.015
  • Okubo Y, Mohamed Suhaimy MSB, Hoang P, Chaplin C, Hicks C, Sturnieks DL, Lord SR. Training reactive balance using trips and slips in people with multiple sclerosis: A blinded randomised controlled trial. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2023 May;73:104607. doi: 10.1016/j.msard.2023.104607

Updated: 31 March 2023

Updated: 19 January, 2021

Stages of the research process

Fundamental laboratory

Laboratory research that investigates scientific theories behind the possible causes, disease progression, ways to diagnose and better treat MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 10+ years

Research that builds on fundamental scientific research to develop new therapies, medical procedures or diagnostics and advances it closer to the clinic.

Lab to clinic timeline: 5+ years
Clinical Studies
and Clinical Trials

Clinical research is the culmination of fundamental and translational research turning those research discoveries into treatments and interventions for people with MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 1-5 years


Grant Awarded

  • Project Grant

Total Funding

  • $240,000


  • 3 years

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Associate Professor Anne BreustleDr Yvonne Learmonth

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Lower limb training to improve walking in people with MS