The management of peripheral arterial disease with intermittent claudication includes angioplasty, pharmaceutical therapy, risk factor modification and exercise therapy. Supervised exercise programmes are used sporadically but may improve the distance that an individual with claudication can walk. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a 3-month supervised exercise programme on improving gait parameters in patients with intermittent claudication.
12 participants were recruited (mean (SD) — age: 67.3 (6.8) years, height: 1.67 (0.09) m, mass: 79.4 (14.0) kg, ankle brachial pressure index: 0.73 (0.17)) from the local vascular unit and enrolled in a supervised exercise programme. Kinematic and kinetic data were collected at the following time points: pain-free walking, initial claudication pain, absolute claudication pain and after a patient-defined rest period. Data were collected before and after the 3-month supervised exercise programme.
No significant differences were found in any of the gait parameters post-intervention including pain-free walking speed (P=0.274), peak hip extension (P=0.125), peak ankle plantarflexion (P=0.254), or first vertical ground reaction force peak (P=0.654). No significant gait differences were found across different levels of pain pre- or post-intervention.
The lack of improvement post-intervention observed suggests that the current exercise protocol was not tailored to elicit significant improvements in patients with intermittent claudication, specifically. The results indicate that exercise programmes may show improved results post-intervention if they are longer in duration and varied in intensity. Further research into more detailed muscle and biomechanical adaptations is needed to inform exercise programmes specific to this population.
King, S., Vanicek, N., Mockford, K. A., & Coughlin, P. A. (2012). The effect of a 3-month supervised exercise programme on gait parameters of patients with peripheral arterial disease and intermittent claudication. Clinical biomechanics, 27(8), 845-851. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2012.05.002