Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 386–391 | Cite as

Predicting the probability of falls in community-dwelling elderly individuals using the trail-walking test

Short Communication



Falling is a common problem in the fast-growing elderly population. Multitasking or engaging in two or more activities at the same time is common in daily living.


To determine the usefulness of the trail-walking test (TWT) for predicting a fall in community-dwelling elderly individuals.


This was a prospective study in which the TWT was used to evaluate the risk of falling among a group of community-dwelling elderly individuals (n = 171) with a mean age of 80.5 ± 5.6 years. The following tests were conducted: TWT, trail-making test (TMT), timed-up-and-go test (TUG), functional reach (FR) test, one-leg standing (OLS) test, and 10-m walking time test. Test–retest reliability was assessed by repeating the TWT within 2 weeks of the first trial, and there was a 1-year follow-up. Stepwise logistic regression analysis was used to analyze whether the TWT, TMT, TUG, FR, OLS, or 10-m walking tests predicted falling.


The test–retest reliability of TWT was high (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.945, p < 0.001). Fifty-nine participants (34.5%) had reported a fall during the year preceding the 1-year follow-up. The stepwise logistic regression analysis revealed that only the TWT was significantly related to falling (odds ratio 1.160, 95% confidence interval 1.107–1.214; p < 0.001). In total, 77.8% of cases were correctly classified.


When reliability and validity were considered, the TWT was most useful test of those evaluated for assessing the risk of fall among our elderly cohort.


Fall Elderly Trail-walking test Predictor Complex-task condition 


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society for Hygiene 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Health SciencesKyoto University Graduate School of MedicineSakyo-ku, KyotoJapan

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