The Benefits of Compression Boots for Those Standing on Their Feet: A Breakthrough in Leg Pain Relief
December 03, 2023

The Benefits of Compression Boots for Those Standing on Their Feet: A Breakthrough in Leg Pain Relief

Prolonged standing is a common aspect of various occupations, from retail and food service to manufacturing and healthcare. Unfortunately, it often leads to unpleasant symptoms such as leg pain and swelling. A recent study has shed light on an effective solution – intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC or also know more commonly as compression boots). This article explores the research findings and their implications for individuals who spend significant time on their feet.

Understanding the Issue

Prolonged standing can result in a range of musculoskeletal symptoms, including low back pain, knee discomfort, and lower leg swelling. These symptoms are often linked to blood pooling and increased venous pressure, leading to venous insufficiency. Leg pain and swelling are prevalent issues, affecting even healthy individuals.

Traditionally, conservative measures such as compression garments and mechanical devices have been used to address these symptoms. However, the evidence supporting their effectiveness has been limited. Enter intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC), a therapy primarily used for deep vein thrombosis prevention and lymphedema treatment. While its efficacy has been established for pathological conditions, its impact on healthy individuals experiencing leg pain and swelling due to prolonged standing has not been thoroughly investigated.

The Research

A single-center, cross-over study involving 20 healthy volunteers who experience leg pain and swelling due to prolonged standing was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of IPC. The study compared three interventions: natural rest, sequential mode IPC, and circular mode IPC. Pain levels, leg circumferences, and leg volumes were measured before and after work, as well as after interventions.

Key Findings

The study revealed significant improvements in pain and leg circumferences at 30 minutes after intervention (T2) and 30 minutes of rest post-intervention (T3) compared to pre-work levels (T1). Both sequential and circular IPC demonstrated superior effectiveness in reducing pain and leg circumferences compared to natural rest. Notably, leg volume was significantly reduced after interventions, indicating the positive impact of IPC.

Implications for Prolonged Standers:

The findings of this study hold promising implications for individuals engaged in occupations requiring prolonged standing. Here are some key takeaways:

1. Pain Reduction: IPC (recovery compression boots), particularly in sequential and circular modes, significantly reduces leg pain. The visual analogue scale (VAS) used in the study indicated substantial improvements, offering a potential solution for those experiencing discomfort after extended periods of standing.

2. Circumference and Volume Reduction: Both leg circumferences and volumes were significantly reduced after IPC interventions. This suggests that IPC effectively addresses not only the subjective experience of pain but also objective measures of swelling and fluid retention.

3. Safe and Simple: The study found no adverse events associated with IPC, emphasizing its safety for use in healthy individuals. The simplicity of the therapy, involving pneumatic cuffs connected to a pump, makes it a user-friendly option for those seeking relief from leg symptoms.

How Does IPC (aka Compression Boots) Work?

IPC or compression boots works by mimicking the intermittent compression of the limb's vasculature during muscle contractions. The study utilized a device with two modes – sequential and circular. Both modes demonstrated comparable effectiveness, indicating flexibility in application.


In conclusion, intermittent pneumatic compression emerges as a promising and effective tool for individuals facing leg pain and swelling due to prolonged standing. The study's robust findings provide a scientific basis for considering IPC as part of a preventive and therapeutic approach for those engaged in occupations requiring extended periods of standing.

For those seeking relief from the discomfort associated with prolonged standing, intermittent pneumatic compression stands out as a safe, simple, and scientifically-supported solution. As we move forward, further research may delve into optimal frequency and parameters for IPC application, offering even more personalized and targeted benefits for individuals in various occupations.

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