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RehabMeasures Instrument

Step Test

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Purpose

The Step Test measures dynamic balance during an activity requiring weight-shift and movement while in single-leg stance as well as paretic-lower-extremity motor control in patients with stroke.

Acronym ST

Cost

Free

Cost Description

Cost of equipment

Diagnosis/Conditions

  • Stroke Recovery

Populations

Key Descriptions

  • This is a one-item test.
  • Participants who were unable to stand unsupported were given a score of 0 for both lower extremities (Mercer et al., 2009).
  • The ST assesses an individual’s ability to place one foot onto a 7.5-cm-high step and then back down to the floor repeatedly as fast as possible for 15 seconds. The score is the number of steps completed in the 15-second period for each lower extremity (Mercer et al., 2009).

Number of Items

1

Equipment Required

  • A 7.5-cm-high step
  • Stop Watch

Time to Administer

less than 5 minutes

Required Training

No Training

Instrument Reviewers

Initially reviewed by Krishneshwar Kamineni, PT, MPT in 12/2012.

ICF Domain

Activity
Participation

Considerations

  • ST is fast and easy to conduct, and it has now been shown to be reliable when the number of steps was counted by either experienced or inexperienced examiners by viewing the video tapes. (Hong et al, 2012)
  • ST counts can distinguish subjects with chronic stroke from healthy adults older than 50 years. (Hong et al, 2012) 
  • ST results correlate well with lower-limb muscle strength, walking speed, lower-limb motor coordination, and balance. (Hong et al, 2012)
  • Cutoff scores for the FSST, ST, and 6MWT could accurately classify falls risk at discharge. (Blennerhassett et al, 2012) 

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Stroke

back to Populations

Cut-Off Scores

Chronic Stroke: (Hong et al, 2012; n = 30; where n =15 were stroke patients with mean age 57.7 (8.2) years; duration average post-stroke 5.6 (3.8) years; and n = 15 were healthy adults with mean age 57.3 (3.6) years) 

  • A cutoff score of 13 on the paretic side was found to distinguish the patients with stroke from the healthy adults older than 50 years at a sensitivity of 87% and a specificity of 87%. A cutoff score of 11 on the non-paretic side was found to distinguish the patients with stroke from the healthy adults at a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 67%. (Hong et al, 2012) 

 

Stroke: (Blennerhassett et al, 2012; n = 30; mean age 66.0 (49.3–72.0) years; median of inpatient stay 43.5 (20.5–72.0) days; median of time since discharge 14.5 (9.0–27.0) months)

  • The cutoff scores were < 250m for the 6MWT, <10 steps on the ST, and a failure or ≥ 15 seconds to complete the FSST. (Blennerhassett et al, 2012)

Normative Data

Chronic Stroke: (Hong et al, 2012)

Mean Values of Demographics and ST Scores in 2 Subject Groups:

Descriptor

Mean Values

 

 

 

Healthy (n=15)

Stroke (n=15)

P

Age (y)

57.3(3.6)

57.7(8.2)

.841

Ethnicity

Chinese

Chinese

NA

Sex (M/F)

2/13

11/4

.001*

Height (m)

1.56(0.08)

1.63(0.08)

.012*

Weight (kg)

56.4(10.04)

68.1(11.79)

.007*

Body Mass Index (kg/m^2)

23.1(2.55)

25.3(2.76)

.035*

Right/nonparetic side

18.7(4.0)

11.0(4.2)

NA

Left/paretic side

18.6(4.0)

8.1(4.1)

NA

NOTE: Values are mean +/- SD or as otherwise noted; Abbreviations: F, femal; M, male; NA, not applicable; *Significant difference at P<.05.

 

 

 

 

Stroke: (Blennerhassett et al, 2012)

Details of 30 Participants:

Characteristics

Data

Age (y)

66(49.3-72.0)

Inpatient Stay (d)

43.5(20.5-72.0)

Time Since Discharge (mo)

14.5(9.0-27.0)

Men

20(69)

Infarct

24(83)

Hemorrhage

5(17)

Side Affected

Right 12; Left 14; Bilateral 4

Using a Gait Aid

SPS 7; 4WhF4

Living Situation

Alone 7; with others 22; at college 1

NOTE: Values are median (interquartile range), n (%), or n.  Abbreviations:  SPS, single point stick; 4WhF, 4-wheeled frame

 

Test/Retest Reliability

Stroke: (Hill et al, 1996; = 82; mean age 72.5 years, mean 54 days post-stroke)

  • Excellent test-retest reliability was high in a subgroup (ICC>0.90) and 21 stroke patients (ICC>0.88).

Interrater/Intrarater Reliability

Chronic Stroke: (Hong et al, 2012)

  • Excellent interrater reliability ICC from 0.996 to 0.999 
  • Excellent intrarater reliability ICC from 0.981 to 0.995

Criterion Validity (Predictive/Concurrent)

Stroke: (Blennerhassett et al, 2012)

Risk Ratios and Ability of Balance and Mobility Tests to Predict Falls:

Variable

FSST

ST

6MWT

 

≥ 15s or Fail

<10 reps

<250m

Sensitivity (%)

92

85

64

Specificity (%)

69

59

88

Positive Predictive (%)

92

83

78

Negative Predictive (%)

69

61

78

Risk Ratio (95% CI)

2.9(1.4-6.2)

2.1(1.0-3.8)

3.5(1.0-12.2)

Abbreviation: reps, repetitions; FSST: Four Square Step Test; ST: Step Test; 6MWT: 6-Minute Wakl Test

 

 

 

Bibliography

Blennerhassett, J. M., Dite, W., et al. (2012). "Changes in balance and walking from stroke rehabilitation to the community: A follow-up observational study." Arch Phys Med Rehabil 93(10): 1782-1787. Find it on PubMed

Hill, K. D. (1996). "A new test of dynamic standing balance for stroke patients: reliability, validity and comparison with healthy elderly." Physiotherapy Canada 48(4): 257-262.

Hong, S. J., Goh, E. Y., et al. (2012). "Reliability and validity of step test scores in subjects with chronic stroke." Arch Phys Med Rehabil 93(6): 1065-1071. Find it on PubMed

Mercer, V. S., Freburger, J. K., et al. (2009). "Step Test scores are related to measures of activity and participation in the first 6 months after stroke." Phys Ther 89(10): 1061-1071. Find it on PubMed

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