Effects of an Exercise Intervention on Gait Function in Young Survivors of Osteosarcoma with Megaendoprosthesis of the Lower Extremity : Results from the Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial proGAIT
Limb preservation with megaendoprosthesis in adolescents and young adults (AYA) with bone tumors is associated with functional limitations and gait abnormalities. The proGAIT trial evaluated the effectiveness of an exercise program on gait function and quality of life, functional scales (MSTS, TESS), functional mobility, and fatigue as secondary outcomes. Eleven AYA survivors of malignant osteosarcoma with a tumor endoprosthesis around the knee (mean age: 26.6 (±8.4) years) were randomized into an intervention group receiving an 8-week exercise program or into a control group. Gait function was assessed via 3D motion capture and analyzed using the Gait Profile Score (GPS) and the Gait Deviation Index (GDI). GDI and GPS scores of participants suggest deviations from a healthy reference group. The exercise intervention had small-to-medium positive effects on gait score GDI |d| = 0.50 (unaffected leg), |d| = 0.24 (affected leg), subjective functional scores TESS |d| = 0.74 and MSTS |d| = 0.49, and functional tests TUG and TUDS |d| = 0.61 and |d| = 0.52. None of these changes showed statistical significance. Promising intervention effects suggest that regular exercise could improve lower limb function and follow-up care for survivors; however, a powered RCT as a follow-up project needs to confirm the pilot findings.