Objective: To assess levels of physical activity, particularly walking and leg exercises, among patients with venous leg ulcers and the extent to which patients adhere to compression therapy.
Design: Descriptive cross-sectional study.
Setting: Patients from 12 outpatient dermatology clinics were invited to participate in this study. When they agreed, they were asked to wear an accelerometer for a week and were then interviewed at the outpatient clinic. Patients A total of 150 patients with leg ulcers caused mainly by venous insufficiency.
Main outcome measures: The amount of moderately strenuous physical activity, the amount of walking, and adherence to compression therapy.
Results: In this study, 39% of the patients interviewed displayed adherence to compression therapy. Self-reported data validated by the use of an accelerometer indicated that the amount of moderately strenuous activity in the study group was low compared with that of the general Dutch population; 35% of the patients did not have a 10-minute walk even once a week.
Conclusions: Low levels of physical activity were established in a group of 150 patients with venous leg ulcers. Full adherence to compression therapy was reported in about 40% of the patients. Patients should be educated and encouraged to (1) enhance physical activity through walking and leg exercises and (2) increase adherence to compression therapy.