Assessing walking ability in subjects with spinal cord injury: validity and reliability of 3 walking tests

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005 Feb;86(2):190-6. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2004.02.010.


Objective: To assess the validity and reliability of 3 timed walking tests (Timed Up & Go [TUG], 10-meter walk test [10MWT], 6-minute walk test) in subjects with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Design: Cross-sectional study and repeated assessments.

Setting: The SCI center of a university hospital in Switzerland.

Participants: Validity was assessed by using the data of 75 patients with SCI, and reliability was determined with 22 patients with SCI.

Intervention: Patients performed the timed tests and the Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury II (WISCI II) on the same day. Three measurements within 7 days were taken to assess reliability.

Main outcome measures: The measures were scatterplots, correlation coefficients ( r ), and the Bland-Altman plot. Validity was determined in patients with different walking abilities.

Results: Overall, correlation of the 3 timed walking tests was excellent with each other (| r |>.88) and moderate with the WISCI II (| r |>.60). The correlation between the timed tests for patients with poor walking ability remained high (| r |>.70) but decreased in WISCI II (| r |<.35). High correlation coefficients ( r >.97) were found for intra- and interrater reliability. However, TUG and 10MWT reliability were negatively influenced by a poor walking function.

Conclusions: The 3 timed tests are valid and reliable measures for assessing walking function in patients with SCI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Walking