Jonsson, C., & Johansson, K. (2009). Pole walking for patients with breast cancer-related arm lymphedema. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 25(3), 165–173.doi: 10.1080/09593980902776621
To investigate the influence of pole walking on arm lymphedema following breast cancer treatment when using a compression sleeve
Pole walking is a walking exercise with the addition of walking poles that simulates the arm motion of cross-country skiing during walking. Subjects participated in pole walking on one occasion for one hour outdoors in a park and on sidewalks for approximately 4 km. Each session was performed similarly and was supervised by the same person. Measurements were made before, immediately after, and 24 hours later.
The study took place at a single site in Sweden.
The study used a pre-post design.
The patients showed no significant difference in total arm volume in the edema arm immediately after pole walking or 24 hours later compared to before walking. Immediately after pole walking, a significant decrease in lymphedema absolute volume and in lymphedema relative volume was found compared to before pole walking. Twenty-four hours later, no differences were found compared to before walking. There were no significant differences in rating of heaviness and tightness on the visual analog scale immediately after pole walking or after 24 hours compared to the rating before pole walking.
A controlled, short-duration pole-walking program can be performed by patients with arm lymphedema using a compression sleeve without deterioration of the arm lymphedema.
Nurses and clinicians should be aware and encourage women with lymphedema to perform exercises, such as pole walking, which seems not to deteriorate arm lymphedema.