Validity and reliability of the 10-m walk test and the 6-min walk test in spinal cord injury patients

Spinal Cord. 2011 Jun;49(6):736-40. doi: 10.1038/sc.2010.180. Epub 2011 Jan 11.


Study design: The 10-m walk test (10MWT) and the 6-min walk test (6MWT) have been recommended for assessment of walking in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients. The study was designed on test-retest analysis of the 10MWT and 6MWT.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to assess validity/reliability of different methods of performing the tests.

Setting: The study was set at an SCI unit of a rehabilitation hospital.

Patients and methods: A total of 37 patients; whose median age was 58.5 years (interquartile range 40-66, full range 19-77); median time since onset of SCI was 24 months (interquartile range 16.25-70.5, full range 6-109). Non-traumatic etiology in 20 out of 37 patients; level: 12C, 14T and 11L; American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale grade: 35D/2C. Assessment with the 10MWT (with or without dynamic start) and the 6MWT (short or long track) by two blinded raters to evaluate inter/intra-rater reliabilities.

Results: The 10MWT was performed in a median of 19 s (25th-75th interquartile range 13-28) with the dynamic start and of 18.4 s (25th-75th interquartile range 12.6-29.9) with the static start (P=0.092). The correlation between the results of the two methods was between 0.98 and 0.99. The inter- and intra-rater reliabilities were between 0.95 and 0.99 for both the methods. The 6MWT showed significant differences according to the track length: patients walked a median of 226.7 m (25th-75th interquartile range 123.2-319) on the longer track and of 187.6 m (25th-75th interquartile range 69.7-240.6) on the short one (P<0.001). The correlation between the results of the two methods was between 0.91 and 0.93. The inter- and intra-rater reliabilities were between 0.98 and 0.99.

Conclusion: The 10MWT shows high inter/intra-rater reliability and shows comparable results with both dynamic and static start. The different testing conditions of the 6MWT (track/turns) results in significant differences that need standardization for use in future trials.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Exercise Test / standards*
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraplegia / diagnosis*
  • Paraplegia / physiopathology
  • Paraplegia / rehabilitation
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking / physiology*
  • Young Adult