Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy

, Volume 21, Issue 11, pp 2625–2628

Reliability of the 6-min walk test after total knee arthroplasty

  • Thomas Linding Jakobsen
  • Henrik Kehlet
  • Thomas Bandholm

DOI: 10.1007/s00167-012-2054-y

Cite this article as:
Jakobsen, T.L., Kehlet, H. & Bandholm, T. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc (2013) 21: 2625. doi:10.1007/s00167-012-2054-y



The 6-min walk test is a simple clinical outcome measure, which has been used frequently to assess functional performance in many different patient groups, including patients with total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The 6-min walk test measures the maximal distance a subject is able to walk in 6 min. The reliability is unknown in patients with TKA. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to assess the reliability of the 6-min walk test in patients with recent TKA.


Thirty-four patients with TKA performed 2 test trials the same day, separated by a 1-h seated rest. To assess reliability, intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC2,1), standard error of measurement (SEM), and smallest real difference (SRD) were calculated.


The patients walked on average 14.1 m longer at the second (397.2 m) compared to the first (383.1 m) test trial. The ICC2,1, SEM, and SRD were 0.97, 13.0, and 36.1 m, respectively.


The intra-tester reliability of the 6-min walk test was high in patients with TKA. The thresholds of the 6-min walk test to detect a real change are acceptable in research (SEM) and clinical settings (SRD). We recommend that the longest distance walked in 2 supervised test trials should be used.

Level of evidence



Total knee arthroplasty Functional outcome measure Reliability Disability evaluation 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Linding Jakobsen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Henrik Kehlet
    • 3
  • Thomas Bandholm
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Clinical Research Centre (136)Copenhagen University HospitalHvidovreDenmark
  2. 2.Lundbeck Foundation Centre for Fast-track Hip and Knee ArthroplastyCopenhagen University HospitalHvidovreDenmark
  3. 3.Section for Surgical Pathophysiology, Juliane Marie Centre (4074)Copenhagen University HospitalCopenhagenDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Orthopedic Surgery (333)Copenhagen University Hospital, HvidovreHvidovreDenmark
  5. 5.Department of Physiotherapy (236)Copenhagen University Hospital, HvidovreHvidovreDenmark

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