Timed 25-Foot Walk Tied to Neurologic Exam Worsening in Multiple Sclerosis

Physical Therapy Walking
Physical Therapy Walking
Researchers sought to determine the status of neurologic assessment and magnetic resonance imaging compared with the Timed 25-Foot Walk test, a clinical tool that measures quantitative mobility and leg function performance, in patients with multiple sclerosis.

A clinically meaningful change in the Timed 25-Foot Walk (T25FW) test was associated with worsening of a neurologic examination in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). These findings further validating the clinical utility of this objective test for examining MS-related disability when implemented into routine clinical practice, according to research presented at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC), held October 25-28, 2021, in Orlando, Florida.

An increase in T25FW of ≥20% is “clinically meaningful” and is used to determine disability in patients with MS, according to the study authors. The objective of the current study was to determine how a significant change in T25FW, when measured as >20% increase from prior clinic encounters, correlates with the status of neurologic assessment and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

In the retrospective analysis, researchers looked at patients with MS within an MS clinic and reviewed clinic encounters during the abstraction period to identify the status of neurologic assessment and MRI compared with T25FW over time.

Across the 285 patients included in the study, a total of 78 out of the 772 clinic encounters showed significant change in the T25FW at the encounter. During the time when the significant change in the T25FW was recorded, the investigators also found that 40% of patients had stable neurologic examination, 60% had an unstable neurologic examination, 60% had stable MRI, and 16% of encounters had unstable MRI.

In the clinic encounters that lacked significant change in T25FW, the investigators found that 55.5% of encounters showed stable neurologic examination, 44.5% had unstable neurologic examination, 86% had stable MRI, while 14% had unstable MRI.

According to the researchers, there was a significant difference in stability of the neurologic evaluation when a significant change in the T25FW was recorded at the encounter. Additionally, there was a similar nonsignificant trend with MRI status.

“Given its ease of use and relationship to MS-related disability, we strongly encourage the use of the T25FW in routine clinical practice for neurologists treating PwMS [persons with MS],” they concluded.

Disclosure: Multiple authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please refer to the original article for a full list of disclosures.


Hewitt ST, Robertson D, Aungst A, et al. Validating the clinical usefulness of the timed 25-foot walk in multiple sclerosis in routine clinical practice. Presented at: CMSC 2021 Annual Meeting; October 25-28, 2021; Orlando, Florida. Abstract NIB06.