The perspectives of adults with venous leg ulcers on exercise: an exploratory study.

Research paper by J J O'Brien, K K Finlayson, G G Kerr, H H Edwards

Indexed on: 09 Oct '14Published on: 09 Oct '14Published in: Journal of wound care


Exercise has the potential to offer a range of health benefits in addition to improving healing outcomes for people with venous leg ulcers (VLUs). However, despite evidence-based recommendations, most of these individuals do not engage in regular exercise. The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of the perspectives of adults with VLUs, in relation to exercise.This was a qualitative design using semi-structured interviews and discussions. Ten participants with venous leg ulceration volunteered to participate. Recruitment was through a specialist wound clinic. Verbatim data were collected by an experienced moderator using a semi-structured guide. Data saturation was reached after three group discussions and two interviews. A random selection of transcripts was sent back to the participants for verification. Thematic content analysis was used to determine major themes and categories. Two transcripts were independently analysed, categories and themes independently developed, cross checked and found comparable. Remaining transcripts were analysed using the developed categories and codes.Regardless of their current exercise routine, participants reported exercising before venous leg ulceration and expressed an interest in either becoming active or maintaining an active lifestyle. Overall, four themes emerged from the findings: i) participant understanding of the relationship between chronic venous insufficiency and exercise patterns; ii) fear of harm impacts upon positive beliefs and attitudes to exercise; iii) perceived factors limit exercise; and iv) structured management facilitates exercise.The value of exercise in improving outcomes in VLUs lies in its capacity to promote venous return and reduce the risk of secondary conditions in this population. Despite motivation and interest in being exercise active, people with VLUs report many obstacles. Further exploration of mechanisms that assist this patient population and promote understanding about management of barriers, coupled with promotion of enabling factors, is vital for improving their exercise participation.