Manual edema mobilization (MEM) is a method of edema reduction based on the lymphatic system's ability to drain and resolve subacute edema.
To investigate the effect of a modified MEM approach and compare it with a traditional edema technique in patients with subacute hand/arm edema after a distal radius fracture.
The patients were randomized into one of two treatment groups: a group that received traditional edema treatment and a group that received a modified MEM treatment. All patients were examined for edema, active range of motion (AROM), pain, and activities of daily living (ADL). The number of edema sessions and the number of all sessions were counted.
No statistically significant changes were observed in edema reduction, AROM, pain, and ADL at six and nine weeks between the treatment groups. A statistically significant improvement was observed in ADL after three weeks after inclusion (p=0.03) in the modified MEM group compared with the control group. Furthermore, fewer edema treatment sessions were needed (p=0.03) in the modified MEM group. At six weeks, we observed a difference between the two groups' needs for further edema treatment (p=0.04).
Neither the traditional nor the modified MEM treatment program was superior in terms of edema reduction, although the modified MEM resulted in fewer sessions to decrease subacute hand/arm edema compared with using traditional edema reduction techniques in patients after distal radius fracture.