The use of pedometers in stroke survivors: are they feasible and how well do they detect steps?

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Mar;93(3):466-70. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2011.08.047.


Objectives: To determine (1) the feasibility of pedometers for stroke patients and (2) the level of agreement between pedometers and actual step count.

Design: Observational agreement study.

Setting: Six stroke units.

Participants: Independently mobile stroke patients (N=50) ready for hospital discharge.

Interventions: Patients were asked to apply 3 pedometers: 1 around the neck and 1 above each hip. Patients performed a short walk lasting 20 seconds, then a 6-minute walk test 6MWT. Video recordings determined the criterion standard step count.

Main outcome measure: Agreement between the step count recorded by pedometers and the step count recorded by viewing the criterion standard video recordings of the 2 walks.

Results: Five patients (10%) needed assistance to put on the pedometers, and 5 (10%) could not read the step count. Thirty-nine (78%) would use pedometers again. Below a gait speed of about 0.5 m/s, pedometers did not generally detect steps. Agreement analyses showed that even above 0.5 m/s, pedometers undercounted steps for both the short walk and 6MWT; for example, the mean difference between the video recorder and pedometer around the neck was 5.93 steps during the short walk and 32.4 steps during the 6MWT.

Conclusions: Pedometers are feasible but generally do not detect steps at gait speeds below about 0.5 m/s, and they undercount steps at gait speeds above 0.5 m/s.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health
  • Biostatistics
  • Exercise Test / instrumentation*
  • Exercise Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / psychology
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Walking / statistics & numerical data