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.