Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Knee News

First-Time Use of the Get Up and Go Test with Knee Osteoarthritis

This is the first study to look at the validity of a special test for balance used in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. The Get Up and Go Test (GUG) is a way to measure a person's ability to get up from a chair, walk, and maintain balance. The person is timed while getting up from a chair and walking up and back 50 feet (12.2 meters).

Physical therapists at the University of Pittsburgh compared how long it took 80 patients with knee OA to complete the GUG test. They compared the results with 25 adults who don't have OA. The purpose of the study was to find out how useful the GUG test is as a measure of physical function for patients with knee OA. Is it reliable for these patients? Can it predict function?

The authors report the GUG test is reliable. They found that adults with OA take longer to perform the GUG than those with healthy knees. Average time to rise from the chair and walk the distance was 11 seconds for the patients with OA and eight seconds for the healthy subjects.

The researchers say the GUG test can't be used alone as a single measure of physical function. It's too narrow and doesn't look at activities patients with OA find hard to do. For example, it doesn't measure ability to go up and down stairs or get in and out of a car. These skills are often problems for patients with OA.

These therapists suggest more research is needed to find useful tests and measures of physical function for patients with knee OA. It's better to have a specific test than to rely on the patient's report. Patients tend to report what they think they can do rather than what they can really accomplish. They may not see their own decline in physical function. A test to show early decline in strength and balance may help prevent further problems in patients with knee arthritis.

Sara R. Piva, MS, PT, OCS, FAAOMPT, et al. Get Up and Go Test in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. February 2004. Vol. 85. No. 2. Pp. 284-289.


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