Objective: To compare walking test results with walking in daily life, and to investigate the relationships between walking tests, walking activity in daily life, and perceived mobility problems in patients with post-poliomyelitis syndrome.
Subjects: Twenty-four ambulant patients with post-poliomyelitis syndrome.
Methods: Walking tests were performed at self-preferred and maximal speed. Walking activity was measured with an ambulatory activity monitor. Heart rate, step cadence and walking speed in the test and in daily life were compared. Walking speed in daily life was represented by the intensity of walking. Perceived mobility problems were assessed with the Nottingham Health Profile.
Results: Heart rate during walking was lower in the test at self-preferred speed than in daily life (mean difference: 11.3+/-10.4; p=0.001). Self-preferred walking speed in the test and in daily life correlated significantly (r=0.55; p=0.04). In a sub-group with a test performance below the median value, test performance correlated significantly with walking activity. No significant correlation was found between perceived mobility problems and walking activity.
Conclusion: Walking in daily life may be more demanding than walking under standardized conditions. Patients with post-poliomyelitis syndrome with the lowest test performance walked less in daily life. Patients do not necessarily match their activity pattern to their perceived mobility problems.