Influence of intermittent pneumatic compression on foot sensation and balance control in chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy patients

  • Taylor B. Winberg
    Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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  • Eric T. Hedge
    Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

    Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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  • Sean D. Peterson
    Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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  • Richard L. Hughson
    Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

    Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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  • Andrew C. Laing
    Corresponding author.: Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada.
    Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

    Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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      • Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy treated with lower limb compression.
      • Compression treatment had no detectable effect of tested foot sensation.
      • Compression treatment improved measures of static and dynamic balance control.
      • Most patients reported sustained symptom improvements following treatment.
      • Compression treatment warrants further exploration as a neuropathic modality.



      Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, a side effect of cancer treatment, presents several issues to patients, including reduced sensation and increased fall risk. Previously, massage therapy has been shown to improve chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy symptoms, possibly through increased blood flow. A custom built intermittent pneumatic compression device, previously shown to increase lower leg blood flow, was tested as a plausible treatment modality.


      Seven cancer survivors suffering from chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy were recruited. Foot sensation (Semmes-Weinstein test) as well as static (dual and tandem stance) and dynamic (timed-up-and-go) balance control tests were performed both pre and post a 5-min intermittent pneumatic compression intervention. Self-reported feedback was provided by participants following testing and 24-h later.


      Five participants reported positive changes in their feet immediately following intermittent pneumatic compression treatment while four of those participants reported positive changes up to 24 h after intervention. Foot sensation was unchanged regardless of location tested (P ≥ 0.23). Postural sway path length and sway area were unchanged following intervention during dual stance (P ≥ 0.14), but path length was significantly reduced (~19.9%) following intervention during tandem stance (P = 0.033). Timed-up-and-go duration was also significantly reduced (~7.0%, P = 0.012).


      Overall, these findings demonstrate that intermittent pneumatic compression may be a plausible treatment modality for improving self-reported foot sensation as well as static and dynamic balance control. As a pilot study, this study provides sufficient context for further research exploring the efficacy of intermittent pneumatic compression as a treatment using a randomized control trial design.


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