HEALTH researchers in Sheffield have been awarded £70,000 to trial a method of treating a painful leg condition.
Fifty patients suffering from intermittent claudication – a condition which creates cramps and pain even when walking a short distance – will take part in a study to see if walking poles can improve their condition.
Researchers led by Prof Jonathan Beard, of Sheffield Vascular Institute, have been awarded three grants – from the British Heart Foundation, the Private Physiotherapy Education Foundation and the Sheffield Vascular Research Fund – to see if Nordic walking poles can help patients walk further without pain.
One of the patients taking part in the study is Reverend Reg Davies, vicar at All Saints Parish Church in Denaby Main, Doncaster, who was able in his first assessment to walk 50 per cent further with walking poles than without.
Rev Davies: “I have suffered with intermittent claudication for several years and it can be quite debilitating.
“However, when I started using poles I felt as though I was widening my strides and was able to walk for longer.”
Researchers at the institute – part of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – will test the patients walking with the poles for 30 minutes, three times a week, for three months.
Prof Beard, a consultant vascular surgeon, said: “We are most grateful to our funders for enabling us to start this study, as it will allow us to carry out important research that could benefit thousands. Intermittent claudication is a disabling condition that can significantly reduce a person’s quality of life.”
Intermittent claudication causes a cramping pain in the calf, thigh or buttock during exercise, due to poor circulation.
The condition affects up to 10 per cent of over-65s and can be caused by diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking and lack of exercise.