Background The walking test is useful to evaluate leg numbness and pain caused by cauda equina symptoms in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis but there are few reports described about reproducibility. The study aim was to evaluate the reproducibility of the walking test for lumbar spinal stenosis
Methods Seventy patients with lumbar spinal stenosis who had intermittent claudication symptoms at a multicenter outpatient clinic were examined prospectively. A walking test was performed at 0 and 4 weeks. We investigated walking distance and lower limb pain and numbness in this study. Pain and numbness were evaluated by using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) immediately after the walking test for the hip and outside, inside, front, and posterior sides of the lower legs. Cohen’s kappa analysis and interphase correlation coefficients (ICCs) were used to evaluate reproducibility. The Swiss Spinal Stenosis Questionnaire (SSS) was used to evaluate stenosis severity.
Results The mean SSS was 30.2 ± 5.5 initially and 29.2 ± 5.2 at week 4, with no significant difference in severity ( P = 0.10). The walking distance ICC between baseline and 4 weeks was 0.670. The interobserver reliabilities for lower limb ache and numbness in both legs were acceptable. The average VAS for lower leg pain was 23.2 ± 25.2 mm at baseline and 27.4 ± 28.8 mm at week 4. The ICC was 0.668. The average VAS for leg numbness was 23.4 ± 26.7 mm at baseline and 24.8 ± 25.2 mm at week 4. The ICC was 0.683.
Conclusions The walking test walking distance and symptomatic site results were reproducible.