SYSTEMATIC REVIEWS: CLINICAL BOTTOM LINE
“How should I apply this information?”
Pediatric physical therapists use normative data to help determine whether a child significantly differs from his/her peers. The authors concluded that differences in protocol in previously published articles may have influenced the normative values and test-retest reliability reported for the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test in children aged 3 to 18 years. The authors also suggest that other factors, such as younger age (3-5 years) and culture, may have affected TUG times. Care should be given to the interpretation of the results, as the different studies did not use the same methods and therefore the normative data should not be compared. Therapists should consider these factors when deciding which test protocol and normative data to use until a standardized protocol of the TUG is developed by future research.
“What should I be mindful about when applying this information?”
Based on the systemic review, the authors recommend a standardized protocol for the TUG. In developing the protocol, the context in which the test is used should be considered. Children are not often asked to walk as fast as they can but rather at a safe or self-selected pace. While walking as quickly as possible may be the best way to assess dynamic balance, a self-selected walking speed may better reflect how children move in the classroom or home.
Adina Itzkowitz, PT, MS
Maura Doyle PT, DPT, MS, PCS
New York City Department of Education
New York, New York