Physical performance assessment in military service members.

Research paper by Jason M JM Wilken, Benjamin J BJ Darter, Stephen L SL Goffar, Jesse C JC Ellwein, Rachel M RM Snell, Eric A EA Tomalis, Scott W SW Shaffer

Indexed on: 31 Aug '12Published on: 31 Aug '12Published in: The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons


Few established measures allow effective quantification of physical performance in severely injured service members. We sought to establish preliminary normative data in 180 healthy, active-duty service members for physical performance measures that can be readily implemented in a clinical setting. Interrater and test-retest reliability and minimal detectable change (MDC) values were also determined. Physical performance testing included self-selected walking velocity on level and uneven terrain, timed stair ascent, the sit-to-stand five times test, the four-square step test, and the 6-minute walk test. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, intraclass correlation coefficients, and MDC. Interrater and test-retest reliability were excellent for all measures (intraclass correlation coefficients >0.75). MDC values for timed measures were <0.3 seconds for interrater comparisons and <1.5 seconds for between-day comparisons. Physical performance measures had a narrow range of normal performance and were reliable and stable between days.