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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2009 Mar;90(3):470-4. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2008.08.221.

Validity of a functional dynamic walking test for the elderly.

Author information

1
University of Glamorgan, Faculty of Health, Sport, and Science, Pontypridd, Wales, UK. s.lark@massey.ac.nz

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the validity of a safe, quick, and simple method of measuring dynamic balance in the elderly during gait called the parallel walk test.

DESIGN:

Control study.

SETTING:

Outpatient clinic, community.

PARTICIPANTS:

Twenty-seven elderly fallers (age 82+/-6y) registered at a falls clinic and 34 elderly nonfallers (age 76+/-7y) were recruited to this study based on Mini Mental State Examination and Barthel Index scores.

INTERVENTIONS:

Subjects were timed as they walked 6m between 2 parallel lines on the floor at 3 different widths (20, 30.5, 38cm) in their own footwear. They were scored for foot placement on the line (1 point) or outside the lines (2 points). Participants also performed a timed 6-m tandem walk test, a 30-second tandem stance, and a 30-second parallel stance.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Scores and time to complete the parallel walk test and tandem walk test along with the time of standing for tandem and parallel stance. Validity coefficients were calculated for the sensitivity and specificity of the parallel walk test.

RESULTS:

All subjects completed the parallel walk test, but few attempted and completed the tandem walk test. The fallers had significantly greater scores at 20 and 30.5cm and took significantly longer to complete the 6m at all widths. The 20-cm width was most discriminatory. The parallel walk test showed a significant correlation with the tandem stance.

CONCLUSIONS:

All subjects attempted and completed the parallel walk test but not the tandem walk test. The time to completion and scoring accurately measures dynamic balance during gait in elderly fallers. The parallel walk test could be a useful tool in the clinical setting for assessing balance in gait pre- and postintervention.

PMID:
19254613
DOI:
10.1016/j.apmr.2008.08.221
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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