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Vascular. 2016 Jun;24(3):304-14. doi: 10.1177/1708538115592800. Epub 2015 Jul 24.

Pain-free treadmill exercise for patients with intermittent claudication: Are there gender differences?

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Department of Health Education and Behavior, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
The Edmond and Lily Safra Children's Hospital, Ramat Gan, Israel The Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Ramat Gan, Israel Kaye Academic College of Education, Beer-Sheba, Israel.
Department of Health Education and Behavior, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Department of Physical Therapy, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.


Intermittent claudication, a common symptom of peripheral arterial disease, results in insufficient blood flow and oxygen supply to lower extremity muscles. Compared to men, women with peripheral arterial disease have a higher rate of mobility loss with peripheral arterial disease due to poorer lower extremity functioning. This study evaluates the effect of supervised pain-free treadmill exercise on improving performance in women with intermittent claudication due to peripheral arterial disease in comparison to men. A total of 26 participants (women, n = 9, 34.62%; mean age = 67.58 ± 5.59 years; averaging 23.46 ± 3.91 visits and 10.46 ± 0.99 weeks in the program) diagnosed with peripheral arterial disease, with symptoms of intermittent claudication, partook in a 45 min treadmill walk, twice per week, below the participant's minimal pain threshold. Female participants' change scores showed 752%, 278% and 115% improvement in mean walking distance, duration and rate, respectively. Men improved 334%, 149% and 80%, respectively. Significant differences (p < 0.05) in pre and post measurements within each group support positive outcomes. No significant differences between groups were observed (Cohen's d effect size > 0.80). Our results suggest that women reap similar benefits from this low-intensity treadmill program in comparison to men.


Peripheral arterial disease; intermittent claudication; low-intensity exercise therapy; treadmill exercise therapy

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