Prolonged immobilization in an upright position often leads to discomfort and oedema in the feet of otherwise healthy subjects. To determine the significance of leg activity and ambient pressure on oedema formation, skin temperature (Tsk) and discomfort, 6 volunteers sat for 8 h with one leg immobilized and the other spontaneously active; one day at “sea level” (750 mmHg) and one day at reduced barometric pressure (540 mmHg). Foot swelling was measured by water plethysmography. Leg movements were continuously monitored by a Vitalog computer, and foot discomfort was estimated by analog-visual scales. The 8 hour swelling averaged 5.7% in the inactive foot, and 2.7% in the active foot (p<0.001). Tsk of the inactive foot levelled off towards ambient temperature (21 ° C) within 4 h. For the active foot this fall was reduced by 2–3 ° C (p<0.025). The increase in foot discomfort during the day was lowest in the active foot (p<0.005). High foot Tsk was associated with a high foot swelling rate. Reduced ambient barometric pressure had no effects on foot swelling or Tsk. It is concluded that modest leg activity during 8 h of sitting has several effects on the circulation in the feet: some effects promote and some prevent oedema formation. However, the net result is a reduction in foot swelling.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Aas M, Skretting A, Engeset A, Westgaard R (1985) Lymphatic drainage from subcutaneous tissue in the foot and leg in the sitting human. Acta Physiol Scand 125:505–511
Noddeland H, Aukland K, Nicolaysen G (1981) Plasma colloid osmotic pressure in venous blood from the human foot in orthostasis. Acta Physiol Scand 113:447–454
Noddeland H, Ingemansen R, Reed RK, Aukland K (1983) A telemetric technique for studies of venous pressure in the human leg during different positions and activities. Clin Physiol 3:573–576
Sjøgaard G, Bonde-Petersen F (1981) Extracellular fluid volume in skeletal muscle of man as affected by postural changes. In: Takács L (ed) Adv Physiol Sci, vol 11, Kidney and body fluids. Pergamon Press, pp 655–658
Stranden E, Aarås A, Anderson DM, Myhre HO, Martinsen K (1983) The effects of working posture on muscular-skeletal load and circulatory condition. In: Coombes K (ed) Proceedings of the ergonomics society's conference. Taylor & Francis, London, pp 163–167
Winkel J (1985) On foot swelling during prolonged sedentary work and the significance of leg activity. In: Arbete och Hälsa 1985:35. National Board of Occupational Safety and Health, Stockholm. Thesis from Karolinska Institute, Stockholm
Winkel J (1986) An accurate plethysmograph for measurement of changes in the volume of the human foot. Ergonomics 29:801–805
Winkel J, Bendix T (1986) Muscular performance during seated work evaluated by two different EMG methods. Eur J Appl Physiol 55:166–170
Winkel J, Jørgensen K (1986a) Evaluation of foot swelling and lower-limb temperatures in relation to leg activity during long-term seated office work. Ergonomics 29:313–328
Winkel J, Jørgensen K (1986b) Swelling of the foot, its vascular volume and systemic hemoconcentration during longterm constrained sitting. Eur J Appl Physiol 55:162–166
About this article
Cite this article
Noddeland, H., Winkel, J. Effects of leg activity and ambient barometric pressure on foot swelling and lower-limb skin temperature during 8 h of sitting. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 57, 409–414 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00417985
- Muscle pump
- Skin temperature
- Barometric pressure