Figure of 8 Walk Test

Original Editor - Lauren Lopez Top Contributors - Lauren Lopez and Kim Jackson

Original Editor - Your name will be added here if you created the original content for this page.

Top Contributors - Lauren Lopez and Kim Jackson  


The Figure of 8 Walk Test (F8WT) measures the everyday walking ability of older adults with mobility disability[1] The F8WT tests a participant's gait in both straight and curved paths[1].

Intended Population

Older adults with a mobility disability[1].

Method of Use

The following summary comes from Hess et al[1]. Please see their report for a thorough description for administering the test.

The F8WT uses a path where the participant is asked to walk a figure of eight shape around two cones. Scores are recorded in three areas: 1)  speed (time for completion), 2) amplitude (number of steps taken), and 3) accuracy or "smoothness".



A small number of studies with low numbers of participants have tested the reliability of the F8WT. The pilot study (n=51) for the F8WT reports that both the inter-rater reliability for F8W time and steps and the test-retest reliability for F8W time were acceptable for clinical measures but lower than other composite measures of mobility[1].

F8WT test times have shown excellent intra-rater, inter-rater and test–retest reliabilities in those with stroke specific impairments[2].


It is valid for testing constructs of mobility such as gait speed, gait abnormality, physical function in activities of daily living and movement control and planning[1].


The F8W test has been shown to detect differences in gait between healthy older adults and older adults who have had a stroke[2]. The F8WT has been used to show changes in gait speed and step count in a study of relatively healthy older adults (n=40) in the context of using exercise to improve direction changes and falls efficacy [3].


It has been put forward[4] that different executive functions are required to walk in a curved path than a straight one and that performance of the F8WT can provide valuable information on the the daily walking ability of an individual as compared to straight path measures alone [4].

Current studies on the F8WT acknowledge small study samples as a limitation to their results[1]. Further studies with greater numbers of participants are required to further validate the test for different populations e.g. specific cardiorespiratory,orthopaedic or neurological conditions and provide data sets for healthy populations.


See here (University of Pittsburgh) for the layout, instructions and scoring of the F8WT.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Hess RJ, Brach JS, Piva SR, VanSwearingen JM. Walking skill can be assessed in older adults: validity of the Figure-of-8 Walk Test. Phys Ther 2010;90:89–99. 22 June 2018).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wong SS, Yam MS, Ng SS. The Figure-of-Eight Walk test: reliability and associations with stroke-specific impairments. Disabil Rehabil, 2013; 35(22): 1896–1902. 22 June 2018).
  3. Song HS, Kim JY. The effects of complex exercise on walking ability during direction change and falls efficacy in the elderly. J Phys Ther Sci. 27(5): 1365-1367. (accessed 22 June 2018).
  4. 4.0 4.1 Lowry KA, Brach JS, Nebes RD, Studenski SA, VanSwearingen JM. Contributions of cognitive function to straight- and curved-path walking in older adults. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2012;93:802-7. (accessed 22 June 2018).