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10 Meter Timed Walk
Public Domain in Rehabilitation Measures Database 10 Meter Timed Walk
NeuroRehab Supplemental - Highly Recommended
Recommendations for Use: Indicated for studies requiring a measure of walking speed.
Supplemental - Highly Recommended: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)*
*Recommendations for Use: Indicated for studies targeted at assessing short duration walking speed (meters/second) for individuals with incomplete SCI.
Supplemental: Cerebral Palsy (CP), Huntington's Disease (HD), Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy (DM), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Neuromuscular Disease (NMD), SCI- Pediatric (age 2 years and over), and Spinal Muscular Dystrophy (SMA)
Exploratory: Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (CMD)
Short Description of Instrument
Construct measured: Walking speed; the 10 Meter Timed Walk is measured in seconds. The walk speed is measured over a length of 10 m (32.8 ft)
Generic vs. disease specific: Generic
Means of administration: Administered in-person by a trained examiner.
Intended respondent: Participant
Administration: Administration time will vary depending on the patient's ability. Total administration time should be approximately 1-5 minutes.
Comments/Special Instructions
Background: The 10 Meter Timed Walk, measures the time an individual walks 10 meters (32.8 feet) using a handheld stopwatch. If physical assistance from another person is required to walk, this test should not be performed. The timing starts when the lead foot crosses the start line and stops when the lead foot crosses the finish line. There is variation in the way the test is operationalized, and hence it is essential that the protocol used is clearly stipulated. Some studies test at the participants usual comfortable walking speed, while others use the participant's fastest safe speed. Some studies tell the participant to start and stop at the line marking the 10-meter distance (referred to as a static start), while others use a "flying start and finish" in which the participant starts to walk 2 meters before the start line and continues 2 meters after the finish line, such that only the middle 10 meters is timed. Assistive devices should be recorded, and whenever possible, the same should be used at each test to enable comparison of data.
CP-Specific: If orthotics are used to perform the 10MTW, the External Devices - CP CRF should be completed as well.
SCI-Pediatric: Assistive devices can be used but should be kept consistent and documented. Collect 3 trials and calculate the average of the 3 trial times.
NeuroRehab Specific: Walking speed, reflective of the time required to navigate a fixed distance, provides critical insight into an individual's capacity to function across a variety of environments (e.g., street crossings). Tests can be performed in multiple ways depending on the needs of the study, capacity of the population, and constraints of testing environment. When comparing performance pre- to post-intervention and with established normative data, consideration should be given to the distance walked (including use of a rolling vs. standing start and finish), equipment used (e.g., AFOs or canes), and verbal instructions provided (e.g., walking at self-selected comfortable vs. fastest safe speed).
Not needed for conditions with only upper limb impairment.
Scoring and Psychometric Properties
Scoring: There is variation in the number of trials that are undertaken in different studies, ranging from one to three trials. The average speed is calculated to the nearest 0.1 second when more than one trial is used.
MS Specific Psychometric Properties: This test (regardless of which version of the protocol is used) has shown to be a feasible, reliable, valid, and responsive for measuring walking velocity over 10 meters in people with MS. Note that this test evaluates a similar ability as the Timed 25-Foot Walk Test. However, the timed walking distance is slightly longer (10 m vs. 7.6 m), can use either a rolling or standing start and finish (vs. the standing start and finish recommended during the Timed 25-Foot Walk Test), and can be performed at either a self-selected comfortable or fast speed (vs. the quick safe speed used during the Timed 25-Foot Walk Test). Speed in m/s can be easily converted to speed in ft/s and vice versa.
Strengths/Weaknesses: It can be less sensitive for detecting changes among patients with minimal walking disability. It is less useful in less disabled populations because the precision of the measurement, time, is often a magnitude equal to the differences or changes occurring - thus the signal is lost in noise. It is not feasible for severe disability or individuals who do not walk. At the upper end of the spectrum of disability, the high variability when used directly as time may be skewed and can mask changes.
Feet per second may be a preferred way to assess walking. The Timed 25 Foot Walk measures a similar construct, however, it is used more typically in Multiple Sclerosis clinical trials, for correlative analyses, meta-analyses, and potential data pooling to maintain consistency across trials.
NeuroRehab Specific:  Simple and quick measure of walking speed, can be done with minimal equipment and space; a gold standard for rapid gait assessment.
MS Specific References:
Bethoux F & Bennett S. Evaluating walking in patients with multiple sclerosis: which assessment tools are useful in clinical practice? Int J MS Care. 2011;13(1):4-14.
Paltamaa J, Sarasoja T, Leskinen E, Wikstrom J, Malkia E. Measures of physical functioning predict self-reported performance in self-care, mobility, and domestic life in ambulatory persons with multiple sclerosis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2007;88(12):1649-1657.
Tyson S & Connell L. The psychometric properties and clinical utility of measures of walking and mobility in neurological conditions: a systematic review. Clin Rehabil. 2009;23(11):1018-1033.
DMD Specific References:
Florence JM, Pandya S, King WM, Robison JD, Signore LC, Wentzel M, Province MA. Clinical trials in Duchenne dystrophy. Standardization and reliability of evaluation procedures. Phys Ther. 1984;64(1):41-45.
Kissel JT, McDermott M P, Mendel, J R, King WM, Pandya S, Griggs RC, Tawi, R. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of albuterol in facioscapulohumeral dystrophy. Neurology. 2001;57(8):1434-1440.
Kissel JT, McDermott MP, Natarajan R, Mendell JR, Pandya S, King WM, Griggs RC, Tawil R. Pilot trial of albuterol in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. FSH-DY Group. Neurology. 1998;50(5):1402-1406.
The FSH-DY Group. A prospective, quantitative study of the natural history of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD): implications for therapeutic trials. Neurology. 1997;48(1):38-46.
Tawil R, McDermott MP, Mendell, JR, Kissel J, Griggs RC. Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD): design of natural history study and results of baseline testing. FSH-DY Group. Neurol. 1994;44(3 Pt 1):442-446.
Tawil R, McDermott MP, Pandya S, King W, Kissel J, Mendell JR, Griggs RC. A pilot trial of prednisone in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. FSH-DY Group. Neurol. 1997:48(1):46-49.
NeuroRehab Specific References:
Moore JL, Potter K, Blankshain K, Kaplan S, O'Dwyer LC, Sullivan JE. A Core Set of Outcome Measures for Adults With Neurologic Conditions Undergoing Rehabilitation, Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy. July 2018;42(3):174-220.
SMA Specific References:
Merlini L, Bertini E, Minetti C, Mongini T, Morandi L, Angelini C, Vita G. Motor function-muscle strength relationship in spinal muscular atrophy. Muscle Nerve. 2004;29(4):548-552.
Personius KE, Pandya S, King WM, Tawil R, McDermott MP. Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy natural history study: standardization of testing procedures and reliability of measurements. The FSH DY Group. Phys Ther. 1994;74(3):253-263.
SCI Specific References:
Burns AS, Delparte JJ, Patrick M, Marino RJ, Ditunno JF. The reproducibility and convergent validity of the walking index for spinal cord injury (WISCI) in chronic spinal cord injury. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2011;25(2):149-157.
Jackson AB, Carnel CT, Ditunno JF, Read MS, Boninger ML, Schmeler MR, Williams SR,Donovan WH. Outcome measures for gait and ambulation in the spinal cord injury population. J Spinal Cord Med. 2008;31(5):487-499.
Lam T, Noonan VK, Eng JJ. A systematic review of functional ambulation outcome measures in spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord. 2008;46(4):246-254.
Lemay JF & Nadeau S. Standing balance assessment in ASIA D paraplegic and tetraplegic participants: concurrent validity of the Berg Balance Scale. Spinal Cord. 2010;48(3):245-250.
Musselman KE, Fouad K, Misiaszek JE, Yang JF. Training of walking skills overground and on the treadmill: case series on individuals with incomplete spinal cord injury. Phys Ther. 2009;89(6):601-611.
Musselman KE & Yang JF. Walking tasks encountered by urban-dwelling adults and persons with incomplete spinal cord injuries. J Rehabil Med. 2007;39(7):567-574.
Olmos LE, Freixes O, Gatti MA, Cozzo DA, Fernandez SA, Vila CJ, Agrati PE, Rubel IF. Comparison of gait performance on different environmental settings for patients with chronic spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord. 2008;46(5):331-334.
Scivoletto G, Tamburella F, Laurenza L, Foti C, Ditunno JF, Molinari M. Validity and reliability of the 10-m walk test and the 6-min walk test in spinal cord injury patients. Spinal Cord. 2011;49(6):736-740.
van Hedel HJ, Dietz V, Curt A. Assessment of walking speed and distance in subjects with an incomplete spinal cord injury. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2007;21(4):295-301.
van Hedel HJ, Wirz M, Curt A. Improving walking assessment in subjects with an incomplete spinal cord injury: responsiveness. Spinal Cord. 2006;44(6):352-356.
van Hedel HJ, Wirz M, Dietz V. Assessing walking ability in subjects with spinal cord injury: validity and reliability of 3 walking tests. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005;86(2):190-196.
van Hedel HJ, Wirz M, Dietz V. (2008). Standardized assessment of walking capacity after spinal cord injury: the European network approach. Neurol Res. 2008;30(1):61-73.
HD Specific References:
Rao AK, Muratori L, Louis ED, Moskowitz CB, Marder KS. Spectrum of gait impairments in presymptomatic and symptomatic Huntington's disease. Mov Disord. 2008;23(8):1100-1107.
CP Specific References:
Chrysagis N, Skordilis EK, Koutsouki D. Validity and clinical utility of functional assessments in children with cerebral palsy. Arch Phys Med Rehab. 2014;95(2):369-374.
Graser JV, Letsch C, van Hedel HJ. Reliability of timed walking tests and temporo-spatial gait parameters in youths with neurological gait disorders. BMC Neurol. 2016;16:15.
Stroke Specific References:
Bowden MG, Balasubramanian CK, Behrman AL, Kautz SA. Validation of a speed-based classification system using quantitative measures of walking performance poststroke. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2008; 22(6):672-675.
Collen FM, Wade DT, Bradshaw CM. Mobility after stroke: reliability of measures of impairment and disability. Int Disabil Stud. 1990;12(1):6-9.
Flansbjer UB, Holmback AM, Downham D, Patten C, Lexell J. Reliability of gait performance tests in men and women with hemiparesis after stroke. J Rehabil Med. 2005;37(2):75-82.
Lin JH, Hsu MJ, Hsu HW, Wu HC, Hsieh CL. Psychometric comparisons of 3 functional ambulation measures for patients with stroke. Stroke. 2010;41(9):2021-2025.
Perry J, Garrett M, Gronley JK, Mulroy SJ. Classification of walking handicap in the stroke population. Stroke. 1995;26(6):982-989.
Schmid A, Duncan PW, Studenski S, Lai SM, Richards L, Perera S, Wu SS. Improvements in speed-based gait classifications are meaningful. Stroke. 2007;38(7):2096-2100.
Severinsen K, Jakobsen JK, Overgaard K, Andersen H. Normalized muscle strength, aerobic capacity, and walking performance in chronic stroke: a population-based study on the potential for endurance and resistance training. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2011;92(10):1663-1668.
Parkinson's Disease Specific References:
Schenkman M, Cutson TM, Kuchibhatla M, Chandler J, Pieper C. Reliability of impairment and physical performance measures for persons with Parkinson's disease. Phys Ther. 1997;77(1):19-27.
Steffen T & Seney M. Test-retest reliability and minimal detectable change on balance and ambulation tests, the 36-item short-form health survey, and the unified Parkinson disease rating scale in people with parkinsonism. Phys Ther. 2008;88(6):733-746.
Traumatic Brain Injury Specific References:
Moseley AM, Lanzarone S, Bosman JM, van Loo MA, de Bie RA, Hassett L, Caplan B. Ecological validity of walking speed assessment after traumatic brain injury: a pilot study. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2004;19(4):341-348.
Disease-Specific References - Orthopedic:
Hollman JH, Beckman BA, Brandt RA, Merriwether EN, Williams RT, Nordrum JT. Minimum detectable change in gait velocity during acute rehabilitation following hip fracture. J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2008;31(2):53-56.
Latham NK, Mehta V, Nguyen AM, Jette AM, Olarsch S, Papanicolaou D, Chandler J. Performance-based or self-report measures of physical function: which should be used in clinical trials of hip fracture patients? Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008;89(11):2146-2155.
General References:
Bohannon RW. Comfortable and maximum walking speed of adults aged 20-79 years: reference values and determinants. Age Ageing. 1997;26(1):15-9.
Fritz S & Lusardi M. White paper: "walking speed: the sixth vital sign". J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2009;32(2):46-49.
Musselman KE. Clinical significance testing in rehabilitation research: what, why, and how? Phys Ther Rev. 2007;12(4):287-296.
Perera S, Mody SH, Woodman RC, Studenski SA. Meaningful change and responsiveness in common physical performance measures in older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2006;54(5):743-749.
Pirpiris M, Wilkinson AJ, Rodda J, Nguyen TC, Baker RJ, Nattrass GR, Graham HK. Walking speed in children and young adults with neuromucular disease: comparison between two assessment methods. J Pediatr Orthop. 2003;23(3):302-307.
Reuben DB, Magasi S, McCreath HE, Bohannon RW, Wang YC, Bubela DJ, Rymer WZ, Beaumont J, Rine RM, Lai JS, Gershon RC. Motor assessment using the NIH Toolbox. Neurol. 2013; 80(11 Suppl 3):S65-S75.
Watson MJ. Refining the Ten-metre Walking Test for Use with Neurologically Impaired People. Physiother. 2002;88(7):386-397.
Document last updated August 2022