Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the use of continuous passive motion (CPM) of the digits in combination with limb elevation to reduce hand edema. The effects of 30 min of CPM of the digits with the limb elevated were compared with the effects of 30 min of limb elevation alone. Each of 16 subjects with hand edema of varied etiology received both treatments, one on each of 2 consecutive days. Measures of hand volume, finger circumference, and finger stiffness were taken before and after each treatment. Analyses comparing mean percentage change scores for both treatments showed large and significant treatment effects for all three dependent measures. The findings indicate that, for this sample, CPM with limb elevation was a more effective treatment for the reduction of hand edema than limb elevation alone. The results of analyses performed on a subgroup of 11 subjects with hemiplegia were similar, thus suggesting that CPM with limb elevation may be an effective method by which to reduce hand edema for this patient population.

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