• Assesses short duration walking speed (m/s).
  • Has been used in various patient populations including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, general neurologic movement disorders, and SCI.

Clinical Considerations

  • The 10 MWT only assesses walking speed and does not consider the amount of physical assistance required, devices or endurance.
  • The test is conducted in a controlled environment (i.e., lab or hospital setting), so results cannot be directly translated to the environment (i.e., crossing a busy street).  The 10 MWT also requires an individual to ambulate a minimum of 14 m.  There have been reports in the literature that the distance is not always standardized (i.e., 10 m versus 14 m).
  • It is a useful measure in the SCI population for both research and clinical practice.  The scale properties (time in seconds or m/s) of the 10 MWT make it a responsive test well suited to evaluating clinical interventions.
  • Is suitable for individuals who can, at a minimum, ambulate in household settings (i.e., > 14 m).
  • Assessment is easy to set up and administer, and is well-tolerated by most patient groups.

ICF Domain

Activity ▶ Mobility


  • The 10MWT is clinician-administered and measures the time required for the person with SCI to walk 10 meters.
  • The test is performed using a ‘flying start’ – the person walks 14 meters and the time is measured for the intermediate 10 meters walked.
  • The person performing the test walks at his/her preferred walking speed, they may use any assistive device (e.g., braces or walker) that they normally use, and they must wear shoes for increased safety.

Number of Items

1 – The 10 meter walking test is the only item.


A 14 meter corridor free of obstacles, and a stopwatch.


The time (to the nearest second) is reported. Walking speed (meters/second) can be calculated by dividing 10 meters by total time in seconds.



Training Required

None, though a clinician familiar with people with SCI is recommended for safety.


N/A. Stopwatch only required.

# of studies reporting psychometric properties: 23


MCID: 0.15 m/s (Forrest et al. 2014; n=249 people with incomplete SCI; outpatient, median time since injury = 0.7 years)
SEM: 0.05 m/s (Lam et al. 2008, calculated from van Hedel et al. 2005, n=22; 14 males, mixed injury types, no information on chronicity)
MDC: 0.105 m/s (Tester et al. 2016; n=72, 57 males, 20 sessions of locomotor training, mixed injury types, median (range) post-SCI = 0.7 (0.1-14.7) years

Typical Values

– Median (range) scores: AIS C: 0 (0-0.5) – 0 (0-1.7); AIS D: 0.3 (0-2.0) – 0.8 (0-2.6) (Harkema et al. 2016; N=152, 123 male, mixed injury type, median (range) time post-SCI – 0.9 (0.1 – 45.2) years)

Reliability – High

Number of studies reporting reliability data: 8

High Test-retest Reliability:

ICC = 0.977-0.981  (Musselman and Yang 2013; n=20, 14 males, incomplete SCI, time since injury (SD) = 5.4 (8.8) years)

High Inter-rater Reliability:

ICC = 0.997 (Srisim et al. 2015; n=83, chronic SCI, mixed injury types, mean time since injury (multiple and non-multiple fallers) = 46.72-58.70 months)

High Intra-rater Reliability: ICC = 0.974 (Van Hedel et al. 2005; n=22, 14 males, mixed injury types, no information on chronicity)

High Test-retest Reliability: ICC = 0.983-0.97 (Perez-Sanpablo et al. 2017; n=23, 15 males, mean age: 45.6 + 12.6 years, chronic and subacute injury types).

High Test-retest Reliability: ICC = 0.99 (Rini et al. 2018; n=25, 22 males, mean age: 27 years, AIS A/B)


Number of studies reporting validity data: 15

High correlation with Walking Index for SCI: 

At 3 months r = 0.78; At 6 months r = 0.85; At 12 months r = 0.77

High correlation with Functional Independence Measure-Locomotor Score:

At 3 months r = 0.80; At 6 months > 0.80; At 12 months r = 0.66

High correlation with 6-Minute Walk Test:

At 3 months r = 0.95; At 6 months > 0.80; At 12 months r = 0.92

(Ditunno et al. 2007; n=146, 114 males, inpatient, incomplete SCI, within 1 year post-injury)

Low to Moderate correlation with ASIA Motor Scale:

UEMS r = 0.24; LEMS r = 0.69; ASIA Motor Score r = 0.63

(Harkema et al. 2016; N=152, 123 male; mixed injury type; median (range) time post-SCI = 0.9 (0.1-45.2) years)

Moderate to High correlation with WISCI-II

r=-0.37 to -0.795

Moderate correlation with LEMS

r= -0.4 to -0.39

(Perez-Sanpablo et al. 2017; n=23, 15 males, mean age: 45.6 + 12.6 years, chronic and subacute injury types).


Effect Size: Mean change (m/s): 1 to 3 months post-injury = 0.92; 3 to 6 months post-injury = 0.47 (Lam et al. 2008, calculated from measurements made in van Hedel et al. 2007; n=51, 42 males, incomplete SCI, 46 with traumatic injury)

Standardized Response Mean: All individuals: 0.51; AIS-A/B: 0.51; AIS-C: 0.50; AIS-D: 0.98 (Post locomotor training; Harkema et al. 2016; N=152, 123 male; mixed injury type; median (range) time post-SCI = 0.9 (0.1-45.2) years)

Floor/Ceiling Effect

Not established in SCI


Dr. Christie Chan, John Zhu, Jeremy Mak, Kyle Diab, Matthew Querée, Joanne Chi

Date Last Updated

20 July 2019

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