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Background: Gait speed is an informative marker of individual’s functional capacity and health status. Neck pain is suggested to be associated with impaired gait speed. However, there is limited evidence for a clinical assessment of gait speed in patients with neck pain.
Objectives: To investigate maximum gait speed using the timed 10 meter walk test in individuals with and without neck pain. Relationships between gait speed and characteristics of neck pain were also determined.
Materials and methods: Twenty six men and women aged between 18 and 59 years with chronic neck pain and 26 healthy controls of similar age and gender were recruited into the study. Participants were instructed to walk barefoot at their maximum speed along a 10 meter walk way. Time was recorded for the intermediate 6 meters. Test was performed twice and mean maximum gait speed was calculated for analysis.
Results: Participants with neck pain demonstrated a slower gait speed during walking at maximum speed compared to the control group (p<0.001). Maximum gait speed was moderately correlated with neck pain intensity (p<0.001) and disability (p<0.01).
Conclusions: Individuals with neck pain walked slower than those without neck pain at maximum speed, indicating that gait is compromised in individuals with neck pain. Gait assessment should be considered in patients with neck pain and the timed 10 meter walk test can be used as a clinical test.
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Personal views expressed by the contributors in their articles are not necessarily those of the Journal of Associated Medical Sciences, Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Chiang Mai University.
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