Background: There are limited psychometrically sound measures to assess higher level balance in individuals with incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI). Objectives: To evaluate interrater and intrarater reliability and convergent validity of the Functional Gait Assessment (FGA) in individuals with iSCI. Methods: Twelve participants (11 male, 1 female) 32 to 73 years old with chronic motor iSCI, American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale C (n = 2) or D (n = 10), were included. Participants completed five outcome measures during a single test session including lower extremity motor scores from the International Standards for the Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury, FGA, 10-Meter Walk Test (10MWT), Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury (WISCI-II), and the Spinal Cord Injury Functional Ambulation Profile (SCI-FAP). Results: Inter- and intrarater reliability for the FGA were excellent. Interrater reliability was excellent with intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) scores greater than 0.92 (p < .001). Interrater reliability against an expert was also excellent for all raters, with an ICC greater than or equal to 0.92 (p < .01). Intrarater reliability was excellent with an ICC score of greater than 0.91 (p < .002) for all raters. Validity of the FGA with 10MWT was -0.90 (p = .000), FGA with WISCI-II was 0.74 (p = .006), and FGA with SCI-FAP was -0.83 (p = .001). Conclusion: The FGA is a reliable and valid outcome measure to use when assessing gait and balance in individuals with motor iSCI. The FGA provides clinicians with a single tool to utilize across a variety of neurologic diagnoses.
- functional gait assessment
- incomplete spinal cord injury
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