Methods of 10-Meter Walk Test and Repercussions for Reliability Obtained in Typically Developing Children – Article Summary

Posted on: February 27, 2021 | By: kmiller61 | Filed under: Walk tests

Purpose:  While there are large amount of studies that analyze the effectiveness of the 10MWT and different methods of it in pediatric populations with neuromuscular conditions, there are very few studies that assess these variables in typically developing children.  Therefore, the main purpose of this article was to assess the intrasubject reliability, test-retest reliability and agreement on four methods of the 10MWT in typically developing children.

Population:  120 typically developing children of both sexes were included in this study.  There were four age groups involved, 6, 8, 10, and 12-year-olds, with a n=30 for each age group.  Inclusion criteria was being within the proper age range.  Exclusion criteria was having a history of fracture of the lower limbs or pelvis, deformities and diseases affecting walking, not understanding the commands of an examiner, and using a walking aid, prosthesis, orthosis, or insoles.

Methods: This was an observational, cross-sectional, descriptive study design.  Anthropometric data was collected for each child including, weight, height, real leg length, and apparent leg length.  Children were assessed walking at self-selected paces and fast paces for the 10MWT and 6MWT.  This was done to determine the effect of acceleration and deceleration periods on average gait velocity.  Both the 6MWT and 10MWT were timed during the same trial by two separate examiners.  The child would start standing at the 0-meter line and be instructed to begin walking.  The examiner measuring the 10MWT would start their stopwatch, while the examiner measuring the 6MWT would wait until the child reached the 2-meter mark to begin.  The examiner measuring the 6MWT also excluded the final 2 meters of the walking distance.  Data was collected on two dates with a week in between collection.

Outcome Measures:  Outcome measures included the 6MWT and the 10MWT.

Results:  When looking at intrasubject reliability the researchers found it was the highest for all ages during the fast pace 10MWT.  It was also high for ages 6, 8, and 12 during the self-selected pace 10MWT and moderate for age 10 during the self-selected pace 10 MWT.  Test-retest reliability was moderate for ages 6, 8, and 12 and poor for age 10 in both the fast and self-selected 10MWT.  There was no agreement between methods for self-selected pace 6MWT versus 10MWT or for fast pace 6MWT versus 10MWT.  When the 6MWT was used gait velocity as often overestimated.  When looking at the impact of anthropometric measures, it was found that the height of the child impacted their gait speed the most.

Strengths:  A strength of this study is the large sample size of children used.

Limitations:  Two limitations of this study are the potential that the children did not fully understand the commands given by the examiners.  While the authors don’t believe this was a factor in the results, they did not formally assess the children’s understanding of commands and therefore it could be impacting the results.  Also, there motivational level of the children could impact the results, specifically in the fast pace trials.

Conclusion:  For typically developing children the fast paced 10MWT showed the highest intrasubject reliability.  Test-retest reliability also increased when using the 10MWT at both paces.  When the 6MWT was used, the subject’s velocity was overestimated.  Based on this study, it may be better to use the 10MWT for typically developing children.

Reference: 1. de Baptista CRJA, Vicente AM, Souza MA, Cardoso J, Ramalho VM, Mattiello-Sverzut AC. Methods of 10-Meter Walk Test and Repercussions for Reliability Obtained in Typically Developing Children. Rehabilitation Research and Practice. 2020;2020:1-7. doi:10.1155/2020/4209812


One response to “Methods of 10-Meter Walk Test and Repercussions for Reliability Obtained in Typically Developing Children – Article Summary”

  1. mmarazzi says:

    Hi Kelly,
    That is interesting that the researchers found no agreement between methods when analyzing the self-selected pace of the 6MWT and 10MWT. As the influence for this study was previous studies evaluating pediatric populations with neuromuscular conditions, it would seem reasonable for the testers to have established some coherence across the two tests by using similar methods as the these previous studies. I would be curious to know why the authors thought this task was difficult to achieve. Additionally, as understanding directions was a key element in completing the walking tests, I wonder if the results might have looked different if the authors allowed for a brief training period for the participants to grasp the instructions better. Overall, I think this is an interesting observation from the researchers and likely points to the need for further research. Great work summarizing!

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