The Best and Worst Walking Aids for COPD Patients

Everyday walking is the most commonly reported problematic daily activity for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Everyday walking is the most commonly reported problematic daily activity for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 38% of patients with COPD report having difficulty walking or climbing stairs.

Rollators and draisines have both been shown to improve COPD patients’ mobility and function during a 6-minute indoor walking test, but this exercise doesn’t reflect everyday walking.

To gain a better understanding of how COPD patients fare with these walking aids, researchers recorded COPD patients’ performance during 3 self-paced outdoor walking tests.

The patients walked on their own for one of the exercises, while the other 2 tests involved the use of either a rollator or a draisine. The 15 participants were instructed to walk as long as possible at their own pace for up to 30 minutes.

COPD patients benefitted the most from rollators, which allowed them to walk a greater distance for a longer amount of time. Draisines had the opposite effect, as the patients actually walked further and longer during the unaided test than the draisine one.

“A rollator improves the self-paced outdoor walk distance and time in individuals with moderate and advanced COPD and a poor functional exercise capacity, whereas the use of a draisine had a detrimental effect compared with unaided walking,” the researchers concluded.

The results of the study were published in Respirology.