Introduction: Negotiating obstacles during walking is challenging and demanding for stroke survivors and it is a common cause of falls. As ability to negotiate obstacles is essential for community ambulation and functional independence in stroke survivors, assessing the ability to negotiate obstacles should be a crucial element in stroke rehabilitation.
The Timed Up and Go Test with an Obstacle (TUGO), which is the modified from the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test, could be used to assess the ability to negotiate obstacles. In TUGO, subjects were required to stand up from a chair, walk forward for 5 meters, step over a 5-cm height obstacle which is placed at the end of 5-meter walkway, turn 1800, step over the obstacle again, walk back and sit down on the chair as fast as possible. Time required to complete the task was recorded by a stopwatch.
The objectives of this study were to investigate the reliability of TUGO and its correlation with motor functions in people with chronic stroke.
Method: This study was a cross-sectional study with 30 people with chronic stroke. TUGO completion times was administered along with Fugl-Meyer motor assessment for the lower extremities (FMA-LE), Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and timed Up and Go test (TUG). FMA-LE, BBS and TUG were used to assess motor control of the affected lower limb, clinical balance performance and functional mobility respectively. The TUGO was conducted in 2 separate sessions with 5-7days apart by 2 independent assessors.
Result: TUGO completion times demonstrated excellent intra-rater, inter-rater and test-restest reliabilities, with intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) of 0.955-1.000. Significant correlations were also found between TUGO completion times and FMA-LE scores, BBS scores and TUG times respectively.
Conclusion: TUGO is a reliable, valid and easy-to-administer clinical assessment for assessing the ability to negotiate obstacles in people with chronic stroke.