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Understanding the relationships between the calf muscle pump, ankle range of motion and healing for adults with venous leg ulcers: a review of the literature

Citation

O'Brien, JA and Edwards, HE and Finlayson, KJ and Kerr, G, Understanding the relationships between the calf muscle pump, ankle range of motion and healing for adults with venous leg ulcers: a review of the literature, Wound Practice & Research, 20, (2) pp. 1-6. ISSN 1837-6304 (2012) [Professional, Refereed Article]


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Abstract

Exercise offers the potential to improve circulation, wound healing outcomes, and functional and emotional wellbeing for adults experiencing venous leg ulceration. Individuals with chronic leg ulcers typically have multiple comorbidities such as arthritis, asthma, chronic obstructive airways disease, cardiac disease or neuromuscular disorders, which would also benefit from regular exercise.

The aim of this review is to highlight the relationships between the calf muscle pump and venous return and range of ankle motion for adults with venous leg ulcers. The effect of exercise will also be considered in relation to the healing rates for adults experiencing venous leg ulceration.

The findings suggest there is evidence that exercises which engage the calf muscle pump improve venous return. Ankle range of motion, which is crucial for complete activation of the calf muscle pump, can also be improved with simple, home-based exercise programs. However, observational studies still report that venous leg ulcer patients are less physically active than age-matched controls. Therefore, the behavioural reasons for not exercising must be considered. Only two studies, both underpowered, have assessed the effect of exercise on the healing rates of venous leg ulcers.

In conclusion, exercise is feasible with this patient population. However, future studies with larger sample sizes are needed to provide stronger evidence to support the therapeutic benefit of exercise as an adjunct therapy in wound care.

Item Details

Item Type:Professional, Refereed Article
Keywords:venous leg ulcers, exercise, calf muscle pump, range of ankle motion, literature review
Research Division:Medical and Health Sciences
Research Group:Clinical Sciences
Research Field:Rehabilitation and Therapy (excl. Physiotherapy)
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Health and Support Services
Objective Field:Nursing
Author:O'Brien, JA (Dr Jane O'Brien)
ID Code:106871
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2016-02-24
Last Modified:2016-02-24
Downloads:0

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