A new study has suggested that leg pain caused by arterial disease can be relieved with just 30 minutes of exercise on the treadmill.
Intermittent claudication is a painful leg condition affecting some patients with peripheral arterial disease.
Other treatments available for alleviating leg pain includes drug therapy or endovascular revascularization, a minimally invasive technique that widens and restores blood flow to the affected artery.
''The results from our clinical trial demonstrate that after six and 12 months, patients with intermittent claudication benefited equally from either revascularization or supervised exercise,'' said the study's lead author, Sandra Spronk, Ph.D., researcher in the Department of Epidemiology and Radiology at Erasmus MC, University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
''However, improvement is more immediate following revascularization,'' she added.
During the study, the researchers recruited 151 patients with intermittent claudication, who underwent revascularization or hospital-supervised exercise.
The supervised exercise consisted of 30-minute, semi-weekly sessions of walking on a treadmill. Follow-up was performed after six and 12 months.
The patients who had undergone revascularization showed more immediate improvement.
However, no significant differences were observed between the two groups after six months or 12 months with functional capacity and quality of life scores increasing for all patients.
''Revascularization is increasingly being performed as a first line of treatment,'' Spronk said.
''This study emphasizes that all patients with intermittent claudication should initially be treated with exercise training, and that invasive procedures should be considered only if symptoms fail to improve,'' she added.
The study is published in Radiology.