A specifically designed aquatic exercise protocol to reduce chronic lower limb edema

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Despite the fact that muscle pump activation is known to positively impact chronic lower limb edema, objective measurements of standardized exercises for venous-lymphatic rehab are lacking. The aim of this investigation is to determine the effectiveness of an addressed physical activity exploiting the advantages of an aquatic environment.

Material and methods

Thirty-two lower limbs of 16 patients affected by bilateral chronic leg swelling were included (12 females, 4 males). All the patients underwent a protocol of five sessions of physical exercises specifically conceived inside a pool. Volumetry, subcutaneous thickness, ankle range of motion and symptomatology were assessed as outcome measures.


One week after the end of the protocol, the average reduction in lower limb volume was 303.13 ± 69.72 ml (p = 0.00002) and 334.38 ± 62.50 ml (p = 0.000003) in the right and left legs, respectively. Ankle range of motion and feeling of heaviness significantly improved.


A specifically designed aquatic protocol is able to positively impact chronic leg swelling offering a first line rehab for this medical condition.

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