Walking up and down stairs is a common and important activity of daily living. Women with fibromyalgia often show a reduced ability to perform this task.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the test–retest reliability of stair negotiation tasks and to assess the impact of fibromyalgia symptoms on the ability to negotiate stairs.
Forty-two women with fibromyalgia participated in this descriptive correlational study. The relevance of the stair negotiation (both walking up and down) was evaluated by assessing its association with the revised version of the fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (FIQ-R) and other health-related variables. Test–retest reliability was also analyzed. The main outcome measures were time spent walking up and down stairs and impact of fibromyalgia, quality of life, number of falls, weight, and lower limb strength and endurance.
The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) for stair descent was 0.929 whereas that for ascent was 0.972. The score in these tests correlated significantly with the total score for the FIQ-R and the score for many of dimensions and symptoms: that is, physical function, overall impact of fibromyalgia, pain, energy, stiffness, restorative sleep, tenderness, self-perceived balance problems, and sensitivity.
Given the importance of the stair negotiation as activity of daily living and the high reliability, both stair ascent and descent tasks may be useful as outcome measures in studies on patients with fibromyalgia.