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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.
      A full review of the 10MWT and reviews of nearly 200 other instruments can be found at www.rehabmeasures.org.
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      • 1.
        Scivoletto G, Tamburella F, Laurenza L, Foti C, Ditunno JF, Molinari M. Validity and reliability of the 10-m walk test and the 6-min walk test in spinal cord injury patients. Spinal Cord 2011;49:736-40.
      • 2.
        Lam T, Noonan VK, Eng JJ, SCIRE Research Team. A systematic review of functional ambulation outcome measures in spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord 2008;46:246-54.
      • 3.
        van Hedel HJ, Wirz M, Dietz V. Assessing walking ability in subjects with spinal cord injury: validity and reliability of 3 walking tests. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2005;86:190-6.
      • 4.
        van Hedel HJ, Wirz M, Curt A. Improving walking assessment in subjects with an incomplete spinal cord injury: responsiveness. Spinal Cord 2006;44:352-6.
      • 5.
        Jackson AB, Carnel CT, Ditunno JF, et al. Outcome measures for gait and ambulation in the spinal cord injury population. J Spinal Cord Med 2008;31:487-99.
      • 6.
        Lemay JF, Nadeau S. Standing balance assessment in ASIA D paraplegic and tetraplegic participants: concurrent validity of the Berg Balance Scale. Spinal Cord 2010;48:245-50.
      • 7.
        Musselman K. Clinical significance testing in rehabilitation research: what, why, and how? Phys Ther Rev 2007;12:287-96.
      • 8.
        Bowden MG, Behrman AL. Step Activity Monitor: accuracy and test-retest reliability in persons with incomplete spinal cord injury. J Rehabil Res Dev 2007;44:355-62.
      This instrument summary is designed to facilitate the selection of outcome measures by trained clinicians. The information contained in this summary represents a sample of the peer-reviewed research available at the time of this surnmary's publication. The information contained in this summary does not constitute an endorsement of this instrument for clinical practice. The views expressed are those of the summary authors and do not represent those of authors' employers, instrument owner(s), the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the Rehabilitation Measures Database, the United States Department of Education, or the Retirement Research Foundation. The information contained in this summary has not been reviewed externally.
      The Rehabilitation Measures Database and Instrument Summary Tear-sheets are funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, United States Department of Education through the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Improving Measurement of Medical Rehabilitation Outcomes (grant no. H133B09OO24) and the Retirement Research Foundation (grant no. 2011-027).