The Effects of Intermittent Pneumatic Compression on the Reduction of Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage in Endurance Athletes: A Critically Appraised Topic

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Clinical Scenario: Endurance sports require a great deal of physical training to perform well. Endurance training and racing stress the skeletal muscle, resulting in exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). Athletes attempt to aid their recovery in various ways, one of which is through compression. Dynamic compression consists of intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices, such as the NormaTec Recovery System and Recovery Pump. Clinical Question: What are the effects of IPC on the reduction of EIMD in endurance athletes following prolonged exercise? Summary of Key Findings: The current literature was searched to identify the effects of IPC, and 3 studies were selected: 2 randomized controlled trials and 1 randomized cross-over study. Two studies investigated the effect of IPC on delayed onset muscle soreness and plasma creatine kinase in ultramarathoners. The other looked at the impact of IPC on delayed onset muscle soreness in marathoners, ultramarathoners, triathletes, and cyclists. All studies concluded IPC was not an effective means of improving the reduction of EIMD in endurance-trained athletes. Clinical Bottom Line: While IPC may provide short-term relief of delayed onset muscle soreness, this device does not provide continued relief from EIMD. Strength of Recommendation: In accordance with the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy, the grade of B is recommended based on consistent evidence from 2 high-quality randomized controlled trials and 1 randomized cross-over study.

Stedge is with the Department of Athletic Training, Weber State University, Ogden, UT, USA. Armstrong is with the James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA. Stedge and Armstrong are also with the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, Provo, UT, USA.

Stedge (hannahstedge@weber.edu) is corresponding author.
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