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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