Background/purpose: Osteoarthritis (OA) affects over 30 million adults in the United States and results in a decline in physical activity level contributing to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. With OA being the leading cause of disability in adults, wellness programs must be established to alleviate its deleterious effects. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of the Walk With Ease Program on lower extremity strength and ambulatory function in individuals with osteoarthritis.
Methods: Eight participants engaged in 3 one-hour sessions per week for 6 weeks including education, a warm up, stretching and a structured walking program. Participants were encouraged to increase walking time by five minutes each week of the study. Data were collected pre-intervention, post-intervention, and at 6-month follow-up utilizing the 6-minute walk test and 5-times sit to stand test.
Results: Statistically significant improvements in 6MWT distance and 5xSST time were demonstrated using the Friedman Test (p<0.05). No adverse events were noted by any of the participants. Participants exceeded the minimally clinically important difference for 6MWT distance and minimal detectible change for lower extremity strength by 5xSST times.
Conclusions: A formalized walking program may improve lower extremity strength and ambulatory function in individuals with lower extremity osteoarthritis. Facilitated group walking programs may facilitate population wellness if made available to the public.
Keywords: Arthritis, osteoarthritis, exercise, walking, wellness