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Lower limb lymphedema disrupts both static and dynamic balance.

Clinical Biomechanics 2024 April 21
BACKGROUND: The impact of lower-limb-lymphedema on quality of life of patients regarding balance is unclear due to the scarcity of literature. The aim of this study was to determine the static and dynamic balance of patients with lower-limb-lymphedema in comparison with healthy subjects.

METHODS: This case-control designed study included 30 lymphedema patients and 30 healthy individuals, of whom were 52 female and 8 male with a mean age of 50.63 ± 9.72 years. Static balance stability and anterior-posterior with lateral sway parameters on four conditions (eyes-opened-stable-ground, eyes-closed-stable-ground, eyes-opened-unstable-ground, eyes-closed-unstable-ground) and dynamic stability of all participants were evaluated.

FINDINGS: The demographic variables were similar between the groups. Majority of the patients had lymphedema due to cancer surgery with a stage of 2. Dynamic stability was significantly disrupted in lymphedema group in comparison with controls (P = 0.049). Static balance parameters were impaired on all conditions except the eyes opened-stable ground in lymphedema patients (P = 0.048,P = 0.043,P = 0.017). The dynamic with static balance and lateral sway parameters were correlated with the duration of lymphedema(P = 0.046,P = 0.002,P = 0.005). Anterior-posterior sway on eyes-closed-unstable-ground condition was correlated with functional status (P = 0.02). Static balance on eyes-opened-unstable-ground condition and anterior-posterior sway parameters were correlated with physical activity level (P = 0.015,P = 0.016,P < 0.05).

INTERPRETATION: Closing eyes and the deterioration of ground caused significant alteration of the static and dynamic balance both separately and together in patients with lower-limb-lymphedema compared to healthy subjects. Regarding the static and dynamic imbalance, we suggest the evaluation of balance and inclusion of balance exercises in routine lymphedema rehabilitation program, especially in the early period of disease.

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