What do people with intermittent claudication believe about walking exercise?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstractpeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences and beliefs of individuals with intermittent claudication (IC) with regards to their condition and walking exercise.
Relevance: Walking is a key management strategy for intermittent claudication (IC), recommended by Physiotherapists and other healthcare practitioners. However, uptake and maintenance of regular walking is poor. An understanding of people’s experience may inform Physiotherapy practice.
Participants: A semi-purposive sample of 16 people with IC (mean age 66, range 44–79 years, 4 female) was recruited from vascular outpatient clinics.
Methods: Participants attended a 60-min individual interview, which was audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Interviews followed a topic-guide addressing experience and beliefs about IC and walking exercise.
Analysis: Data were analysed qualitatively using a thematic Framework approach.
Results: Three themes (subthemes) emerged: 1) Purposeful exercise is challenging (desire for clearer instructions, barriers/facilitators to walking, beliefs do not translate to behaviour); 2) Walking is an overlooked self-management opportunity (uncertainty about IC cause and treatment, walking is secondary to medical/surgical options); 3) Perceived consequences of IC are not addressed by walking (IC is benign and leg pain can be overcome, IC is serious and medical management is required).
Conclusions: People report uncertainty about IC and the role of walking in the management of their condition. Walking is frequently structured around daily tasks, and may not meet guidelines in terms of duration or intensity. Outcome expectations of walking exercise may be incongruent with beliefs about the severity of IC and other comorbidities.
Implications: Physiotherapy-led rehabilitation and prescriptions for home-based walking exercise should include detailed instructions, and information on walking benefits, including realistic outcomes for general cardiovascular health, and for IC specifically. Physiotherapists could support patients in translating positive beliefs about walking to regular walking activity by addressing
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChartered Society of Physiotherapy Annual Congress
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventChartered Society of Physiotherapy Annual Congress - Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Oct 201411 Oct 2014


ConferenceChartered Society of Physiotherapy Annual Congress
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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