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Measurement Characteristics and Clinical Utility of the 10-Meter Walk Test Among Individuals With Spinal Cord Injury

      The 10-meter walk test (10MWT) has been shown to be a highly valid and reliable outcome measure to assess walking speed over a short distance in individuals who have sustained a spinal cord injury (SCI).1-3 This tool is able to detect changes in walking speed in individuals less than 6 months postinjury, but responsiveness appears to diminish after 6 months and once individuals reach normal walking speeds.4 It has excellent clinical utility because it requires very little time and resources to complete. Excellent correlation with other timed walk tests has been demonstrated, and experts suggest using the 10MWT in combination with the Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury II to provide the most valid measure of improved walking ability.5,6 The 10MWT is recommended for use in all patients who ambulate without physical assistance, and psychometric data diminish when used with individuals requiring assistance for ambulation.7 The 10MWT has been most commonly used with individuals who sustained a motor incomplete SCI but may also be appropriate to use with ambulatory individuals who sustained a motor complete SCI. No significant differences were demonstrated in results when comparing static and dynamic starts in individuals with chronic motor incomplete SCIs.3 Reference norms are available for comfortable and maximum walking speeds and may be a beneficial comparison.
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