An updated systematic review published by The Cochrane Vascular editorial base
supports the recommendation by NICE in the UK to offer exercise therapy as a first-line intervention to those suffering from intermittent claudication.
Intermittent claudication, or pain while walking, is one of the first symptoms to manifest for patients with PAD (peripheral artery disease).
This review involved analyzing 32 randomized controlled trials which assessed the effect that exercise programs had on 1,835 people with intermittent claudication.
The actual exercise programs prescribed to the patients varied, but typically involved between 2 to 3 sessions per week.
The review found that patients with intermittent claudication, or pain when walking, who participated in structured exercise programs were able to walk more than 87 yards (80 meters) further without experiencing leg pain. Also, these patients were able to walk more than 130 yards (120 meters) more overall.
Studies and reviews like this continue to provide high-quality evidence that structured and supervised lower-extremity exercise therapy, including walking therapy, provide an important benefit to those suffering from intermittent claudication.