Objective: To determine whether gains in functioning observed immediately following participation in an 8-week program of supervised fitness walking for patients with knee osteoarthritis were sustained at 1-year followup.
Methods: Twenty-nine (61.1%) of 47 original intervention program patients and 23 (51.1%) of 45 original control patients were interviewed by telephone at 1-year followup. Patients completed the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales physical activity, arthritis impact, pain, medication use, and general health perceptions subscales, as well as a separate visual analog pain scale and measures of perceived self-efficacy to cope with arthritis pain and other symptoms.
Results: Adherence to walking was low, and there were no statistically significant differences between intervention and control patients at one year.
Conclusions: The failure of intervention patients to maintain regular walking resulted in loss of functional benefits that were observed at 8 weeks in the original study. Long-term adherence to walking is critical to maintenance of initial gains in functional outcomes.