Walking speed over 10 metres overestimates locomotor capacity after stroke

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ObjectiveTo examine 10-m comfortable walking speed and 6-minute distance in healthy individuals and individuals after stroke and to assess the level of disability associated with poor walking endurance after stroke.DesignDescriptive study in which comfortable walking speed over 10 m and distance covered in 6 minutes (6-minute walk test) were compared between healthy subjects and subjects after stroke.SubjectsTwelve healthy subjects and 14 subjects after stroke.Main outcome measuresWalking speed and 6-minute distances were compared between groups. In addition, for each group, actual distance walked in 6 minutes was compared with the distance predicted by the 10-m walking speed test and the distance predicted by normative reference equations.ResultsSubjects after stroke had significant reductions in 10-m speed and 6-minute distance compared with healthy subjects (p<0.05). Subjects after stroke were not able to maintain their comfortable walking speed for 6 minutes, whereas healthy subjects walked in excess of their comfortable speed for 6 minutes. The average distance walked in 6 minutes by individuals after stroke was only 49.8 ± 23.9% of the distance predicted for healthy individuals with similar physical characteristics.ConclusionIn our subjects after stroke, walking speed over a short distance overestimated the distance walked in 6 minutes. Both walking speed and endurance need to be measured and trained during rehabilitation.

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