Sequential foot compression reduces lower limb swelling and pain after total knee arthroplasty

L. Tamir, D. Hendel, C. Neyman, A. U. Eshkenazi, Y. Ben-Zvi, R. Zomer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two common prophylactic measures to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in patients after orthopedic lower limb surgeries are pneumatic foot and calf compression and antithrombotic treatment. These preventive measures differ in their mechanisms of operation. Antithrombotic agents are aimed to minimize the risk of clot formation, whereas pneumatic foot and calf compression therapy prevents venous stasis, which is a primary factor leading to thrombus formation in patients with leg trauma. DVT, however, is not the only consequence of patient immobility and venous stasis. Additional sequelae of venous stasis include lower limb swelling and pain resulting from the increase in venous pressures and change of normal compartmental circulatory pressures. We therefore hypothesized in the present study that antithrombotic treatment alone is not as effective as combined with pneumatic foot compression in reducing limb swelling and pain. Forty-eight patients after total knee arthroplasty participated in this randomized, controlled study. Low-molecular-weight heparin was the prophylactic measure used for the control group, whereas the pneumatic compression group received low- molecular-weight heparin and foot compression therapy for approximately 7 days after surgery. Lower limb swelling and pain were significantly reduced for the foot compression group in relation to the control group. Ultrasound and venography demonstrated no significant DVT in either group. We conclude that foot compression therapy is an important prophylactic addition to antithrombotic treatment in overcoming the hazardous clinical implications of venous stasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-338
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1999


  • Blood flow
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Foot compression
  • Pneumatic compression
  • Stasis
  • Thrombosis


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