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Vol 23, No 1 (2017)
Review paper
Published online: 2017-05-12

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Applied methods of exercise based therapy for the extension of walking distance in patients with intermittent claudication

Wojciech Pasiak, Anna Stelmach, Agnieszka Zdzienicka- Chyla, Marek Banbula, Tomasz Zubilewicz
Acta Angiologica 2017;23(1):25-28.


Intermittent claudication, according to the Fontaine Classification Scale is a symptom of 2nd degree atherosclerosis of the arteries of the lower limbs. The process of atherosclerosis involves increased narrowing of the blood vessel lumina and their eventual closure. Patients with atherosclerosis often suffer bouts of muscular pain while walking which eventually leads to restricted mobility. The treatment of those affected by furring up of the arteries of the lower limbs includes intravascular procedures, insertion of balloon devices and stents and in severe cases of atherosclerosis surgical intervention is required. The more conservative areas of treatment involve pharmacotherapy, patient participation in educational training sessions, lifestyle changes and appropriate physiotherapy referrals. If applied early on, lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation, an improved diet, as well as targeted training can help avoid the need for surgical intervention. At the moment, the goal of mainstream physiotherapy in the treatment of peripheral artery disease is to determine the most appropriate forms of exercise which can increase the walking distance of patients with intermittent claudication, improve blood-flow in particular to the lower extremities as well as improve patients’ overall quality of life. The purpose of this study is to gather and analyse exercise strategies that result in increased walking distance in intermittent claudication. The best results have been observed in groups who teamed up ambulatory therapy with strength training; Nordic walking therapy along with strength training and finally walking training with upper body aerobic training on the cross-trainer. The variety of training combinations gives us the ability to cater for and accommodate individual patient needs.


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