Intermittent claudication is a diagnosis for muscle pain (ache, cramp, numbness, or sense of fatigue) typically in the calf muscle, which occurs during exercise and is relieved by a short period of rest.
Researchers at Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, in Oklahoma City, compared home-based exercise to a supervised exercise program.
First, the details.
119 patients were randomly assigned to a treatment group.
Home-basedexercise: intermittent walking to nearly maximal claudication pain for 12 weeks
Supervised exercise: as above but supervised
Patients wore a step activity monitor during each exercise session.
Claudication onset time and peak walking time obtained from a treadmill exercise test were recorded as the primary outcomes.
Daily ambulatory cadences (measure or beat of movement) measured during a 7-day period were also recorded.
And, the results.
Adherence to home-based and supervised exercise was similar and exceeded 80%.
Both exercise programs significantly delayed claudication onset time and increased peak walking time.
Only home-based exercise increased daily average cadence significantly.
There were no changes in the usual care group.
The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “A home-based exercise program… has high adherence and is efficacious in improving claudication measures similar to a standard supervised exercise program. Furthermore, home-based exercise appears more efficacious in increasing daily ambulatory activity in the community setting than supervised exercise.”
The authors tell us this is the first well-designed study to compare supervised vs home exercise for intermittent claudication. The findings suggest reconsidering the role of supervised exercise in these patients.
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.