Objectives: To investigate the effect of walkway length (5, 8 or 10 m) on measurements of comfortable and maximum walking speed.
Design: A cross-sectional study.
Setting: University-based rehabilitation centre.
Subjects: Patients (n = 25) with chronic stroke.
Methods: Timed walking with different walkway lengths (5, 8 and 10 m) walkways were recorded using a stop-watch.
Results: No significant effect of walkway length was found on either the comfortable or maximum walking speed in subjects with chronic stroke. For all walkway lengths, comfortable speed was significantly different from maximum speed (p<0.001).
Conclusion: There is no significant effect of walkway length (5, 8 and 10 m) on either comfortable or maximum walking speed. Different walkway lengths can yield consistent results in measuring gait speed clinically. A 5-m walkway with standardized 2-m acceleration and deceleration distances is recommended as it occupies the least space and imposes less stress on subjects.