A Qualitative Exploration of Beliefs About Walking Exercise Therapy for Intermittent Claudication
M.N. Galea Holmes1, J.A. Weinman2, L.M. Bearne1
1King’s College London, Division of Health & Social Care Research, London, United Kingdom
2King’s College London, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, London, United Kingdom
Background: Intermittent claudication (IC) is a debilitating leg pain caused by peripheral arterial disease. It is improved with walking exercise, but activity levels are low. An understanding of people’s experience of their condition and of walking exercise may inform management strategies. Methods: Data from semi-structured interviews were explored using Framework analysis. Findings: A semi-purposive sample of 16 people (4 female) with IC was included. 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). Discussion: People report uncertainty about IC and walking. Clear instructions and information on benefits of walking for general health and for IC are required. A better understanding of IC could help translate positive walking beliefs to behaviour.