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RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Testing the effectiveness of a self-efficacy based exercise intervention for adults with venous leg ulcers: protocol of a randomised controlled trial

Jane A O'Brien, Kathleen J Finlayson, Graham Kerr, Helen E Edwards
BMC Dermatology 2014, 14: 16
25277416

BACKGROUND: Exercise and adequate self-management capacity may be important strategies in the management of venous leg ulcers. However, it remains unclear if exercise improves the healing rates of venous leg ulcers and if a self-management exercise program based on self-efficacy theory is well adhered to.

METHOD/DESIGN: This is a randomised controlled in adults with venous leg ulcers to determine the effectiveness of a self-efficacy based exercise intervention. Participants with venous leg ulcers are recruited from 3 clinical sites in Australia. After collection of baseline data, participants are randomised to either an intervention group or control group. The control group receive usual care, as recommended by evidence based guidelines. The intervention group receive an individualised program of calf muscle exercises and walking. The twelve week exercise program integrates multiple elements, including up to six telephone delivered behavioural coaching and goal setting sessions, supported by written materials, a pedometer and two follow-up booster calls if required. Participants are encouraged to seek social support among their friends, self-monitor their weekly steps and lower limb exercises. The control group are supported by a generic information sheet that the intervention group also receive encouraging lower limb exercises, a pedometer for self-management and phone calls at the same time points as the intervention group. The primary outcome is the healing rates of venous leg ulcers which are assessed at fortnightly clinic appointments. Secondary outcomes, assessed at baseline and 12 weeks: functional ability (range of ankle motion and Tinetti gait and balance score), quality of life and self-management scores.

DISCUSSION: This study seeks to address a significant gap in current wound management practice by providing evidence for the effectiveness of a home-based exercise program for adults with venous leg ulcers. Theory-driven, evidence-based strategies that can improve an individual's exercise self-efficacy and self-management capacity could have a significant impact in improving the management of people with venous leg ulcers. Information gained from this study will provide much needed information on management of this chronic disease to promote health and independence in this population.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12612000475842.

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