Skip to main content


What it measures:

The Six-Minute Walk Test (6MWT) is used to measure a patient’s functional capacity by recording the distance ambulated during a 6 min duration. This can be used to aid in the analysis of cardiopulmonary fitness, measure gait speed, reflect on participants’ activities of daily living, and help to measure mobility). (1)

Target Population:

This summary contains information on use of the 6MWT in patients or clients with a lower extremity joint replacement of the knee or hip.

APTA also has test summaries for the 6MWT applied to other populations at the following links:

Clinical Insights

The 6MWT has a variety of variables that can affect the distance completed such as BMI, stride length, comorbidities, motivation, age, and gait deviations. Due to these uncontrollable variables, it is important for the test administer to observe the patient’s gait and note any deviations present. Patients with a lower extremity joint replacement could alter their gait by incorporating a hip hike technique, circumduction, or a multitude of other gait deviations. These deviations should be taken into account when using this test with patients who had a lower extremity joint replacement. This test is most appropriate for patients with joint replacements only, if compared to a norm value or used as a pretest and posttest distance measure.

You Might Also Like...


Role of Physical Therapists in the Management of Individuals at Risk for or Diagnosed With Venous Thromboembolism: Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline 2022 (CPG+)

May 13, 2022

This update of a 2016 guideline provides assistance to physical therapists in the decision-making process when treating patients at risk for venous thromboembolism


Vestibular Rehabilitation for Peripheral Vestibular Hypofunction: An Updated Clinical Practice Guideline From the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association (CPG+)

Apr 1, 2022

Updated guidelines on how to optimize rehabilitation outcomes for persons with peripheral vestibular hypofunction undergoing vestibular rehabilitation.


Physical Therapist Management of Parkinson Disease: A Clinical Practice Guideline from the American Physical Therapy Association (CPG+)

Apr 1, 2022

Related Resources Parkinson Disease CPG Toolkit Pocket GuideĀ  Podcast: Parkinson CPG Knowledge Translation CPG+ Appraisal Rating 6 out of 7 (How was this