There are many scientific publications about the role of IPC in sports. Some references are given below.
The effects of the modified intermittent sequential pneumatic device (MISPD) on exercise performance following an exhaustive exercise bout.
Avigdor Zelikovski MD, et al Br J Sp Med 1993; 27(4) 255-259
Abstract: The Lymphapress, a pneumatic sequential intermittent device is recognized as one of the most effective conservative treatments for lymphoedema, due to its effective ‘milking mechanism’. This led us to hypothesize that accelerated removal of fatigue-causing metabolites by mechanical massage could improve an athlete’s performance capacity. We conducted trials with 11 men who exercised at a constant workload, on a cycle ergometer, until exhaustion. During a 20-min recovery period a new modified pneumatic sequential intermittent device (the MISPD) was applied to the subjects’ legs. The men then performed a second constant load exercise bout. Cardiorespiratory parameters were measured during exercise and blood was withdrawn during recovery for the determination of lactate, pyruvate, ammonia, bicarbonate and pH. No difference was found in the blood levels of the ‘fatigue causing metabolites’ during passive recovery (PR) and recovery with the MISPD (MR). However, the MISPD effected a 45% improvement in the subjects’ ability to perform the subsequent exercise bout. The accumulation of fluid in the interstitial space after exercise and its disappearance after the use of the MISPD offers one possible explanation for these results, although psychological effects cannot be discounted.
Elastic Bandages and Intermittent Pneumatic Compression for Treatment of Acute Ankle Sprains.
Olavi Airaksinen MD, et al Arch Phys Med Rehabil 71:380-383, 1990
Abstract: The efficacy of elastic bandage alone and with intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) treatments in the rehabilitation of 44 acute ankle sprains was studied. Lower-leg dysfunction was assessed by measurements of edema, degree of ankle motion, pain, and limb dysfunction when the patient was first included in the study, after treatment for one week, and after a four-week follow-up. For all the parameters studied, elastic bandage with IPC treatment resulted in highly significantly (p<0.001) faster rehabilitation during the four-week follow-up than did elastic bandage treatment alone. The limb dysfunction improved significantly (p<0.01) during the follow-up on the study group receiving IPC with elastic bandage compared to elastic bandage alone. The results suggest that IPC treatment is effective in acute posttraumatic therapy.
Intermittent pneumatic compression technology for sports recovery.
Waller T, Caine M, Morris R. The Engineering of Sports 6 (Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Engineering of Sport, Munich). Vol 3: Developments for Innovation. New York: Springer2006; 391-6
Abstract: Intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) technologies are widely used in clinical populations to aid the reduction of limb oedema and for the prophylaxis of deep vein thromboses (DVT). IPC application within athletic populations is not however widespread. The main mechanism for the effectiveness of IPC is that it augments venous and arterial blood flow via the periodic inflation of external cuffs. We believe that this may be beneficial to the warmdown activities of athletes. The removal of waste products may help to reduce injury risk and the phenomenon of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). A new implementation of the technology has been developed to test the extent of any potential warm-down effects induced by IPC treatment in athletes. This paper presents a pilot study in which male participants were exposed to IPC following intensive exercise. The specific treatment comprised 60sec inflation and 60sec deflation of a calf-thigh three compartment sequential compression garment (ratio 70:65:60mmHg) on each leg. This cycle was implemented by an electric pump with the participants in the partially supine position. The recovery protocol was designed to assess the ability of IPC to reduce the symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) elicited by a high intensity repeated shuttle run. An 1 hour IPC treatment was implemented in this case. Vertical jump was used to identify any change in performance pre and post trial. Visual analogue scales were used +1, +24 and +48 hours after the tests to assess the presence of DOMS. During these tests, heart rate and blood pressure measurements were recorded.
The use of a pneumatic intermittent impulse compression device in the treatment of calcaneus fractures.
Myerson MS, Juliano PJ, Koman JD.; Mil Med 2000, Oct 165(10) 721-5.
Abstract: To determine the effects of intermittent compression on foot swelling, intracompartmental pressures, and hospital stay associated with acute calcaneus fractures, we retrospectively reviewed the records of 55 patients between January 1990 and July 1992 whose management profile included preoperative use of an intermittent compression foot pump and surgical treatment by open reduction and internal fixation. Average times were: injury to admission, 6.04 days; admission to surgery, 1.35 days; and surgery to discharge, 3.38 days. Hospital stay averaged 4.73 days. In 27 patients with suspected compartmental ischemia, admission and preoperative pressures in three compartments were averaged and compared: 18.22 and 3.81 mm Hg, respectively (p < 0.001). The authors concluded that the intermittent compression pump appears to rapidly reduce swelling of the foot and decrease elevated compartment pressures associated with calcaneus fractures, which may play a role in decreasing hospital stay.
Intermittent pneumatic compression effect on eccentric exercise-induced swelling, stiffness, and strength loss.
Chelboun GS, Howell J, Baker HL, et al; Arch Phys Med Rehabil 1995, Vol 76.l.
Abstract: Objective: The purpose was to determine if intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) affects muscle swelling, stiffness, and strength loss resulting from eccentric exercise-induced injury of the elbow flexors. We hypothesized that the compression would decrease swelling and stiffness. Design: Repeated measures design with a before-after trial comparison within each day. Setting: Conducted at a university Somatic Dysfunction Laboratory. Subjects: Twentytwo college women students were studied. They had not been lifting weights or otherwise participating in regular arm exercise for the 6 months before the study. They had no history of upper extremity injury or cardiovascular disease. Interventions: Subjects performed one bout of eccentric exercise at a high load to induce elbow flexor muscle injury. Uniform IPC was applied on the day of exercise and daily for 5 days at 60mmHg, 40 seconds inflation, 20 deflation for 20 minutes. Main Outcome Measures: Measurements of arm circumference, stiffness, and isometric strength were recorded before exercise, then before and after IPC for 5 days after exercise. Passive muscle stiffness was measured on a device that extends the elbow stepwise and records the torque required to hold the forearm at each elbow angle. Results: Circumference and stiffness increased and strength decreased during the 5 days post-exercise (p < .05). IPC significantly decreased circumference and stiffness most notably on days 2 and 3 after exercise (p < .05). The strength loss was not affected by IPC. Conclusion: IPC is effective in temporarily decreasing the swelling and stiffness after exercise-induced muscle injury.
Clinical applications of pneumatic intermittent impulse compression device after trauma and major surgery to the foot and ankle.
Myerson MS, Henderson MR.; Foot Ankle 1993 May; 14(4): 198-203
Abstract: A prospective study was designed to evaluate the effect of a pneumatic intermittent impulse device in the treatment of postsurgical and posttraumatic swelling of the adult foot and ankle. Two groups of patients and their respective controls were studied. Group A consisted of 19 patients and 19 controls with acute swelling of the foot and ankle after major elective or posttraumatic surgery. Group B comprised of 18 patients and 16 controls with chronic postsurgical or posttraumatic swelling. The pneumatic intermittent impulse device was used according to a predetermined daily regimen in both the control and experimental groups. The control patients were treated identically, except that their impulse device was modified to prevent effective compression. Reduction in swelling was measured by volumetric analysis with water displacement at selected intervals for each group. When compared with their respective controls, those patients who used an active impulse device had a statistically significant reduction in swelling. We conclude that this device is effective in the control of both acute and chronic swelling after trauma and surgery of the foot and ankle.
Changes in posttraumatic ankle joint mobility, pain and edema following intermittent pneumatic compression therapy.
Airaksinen O.; Arch Phys Med Rehabil 1989 Apr; 70(4): 341-4.
Abstract: The changes in posttraumatic ankle joint mobility, pain, and edema following intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) therapy were examined in patients with lower leg fractures after six to 12 weeks of immobilization in a cast. The study group consisted of 22 patients with distal fractures of the lower leg. Each patient was given IPC treatment on five consecutive days for 75 minutes daily. The control group consisted of 12 patients with lower leg fractures with lower leg fractures who were not given any treatment. Ankle joint mobility in the study in the study group increased by 11.9 degrees (SE = 1.5), but only by 1 degree (SE = 0.8) in the control group. The difference is highly significant (p less than 0.0001). The study group also experienced a markedly greater pain relieve than did the control patients. The reduction of edema was a 170 ml (SE=23) in the study group and only 15 ml (SE = 12) in the control group (p less than 0.001). This study suggests that IPC promotes the rehabilitation of the posttraumatic conditions.