How Compression Therapy Can Reduce Reoccurrence of Cellulitis

What is cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a common bacterial infection of the skin and tissue beneath the skin. It presents as a red spreading rash that can be hot, painful, and/or swollen. It can occur anywhere on the body but most often occurs on the legs.

Risk Factors

Cellulitis is the result of bacteria getting through the skin, as a result, cellulitis risk factors can include any injuries that break the skin as well as chickenpox or shingles and chronic skin conditions. Other factors that can increase the risk of cellulitis include being overweight or having conditions that result in swollen limbs. These conditions can include lymphedema and coronary artery bypass grafting.

One of the challenges with cellulitis is that it is likely to reoccur with those that have experienced it previously.

How to prevent cellulitis?

Previously, the only known effective treatment to prevent cellulitis was antibiotics. The Calvary Public Hospital Bruce lymphedema service in Australia started a randomized controlled trial to explore whether managing chronic edema with compression therapy would prevent cellulitis from reoccurring in the legs.

Skilled lymphedema therapists applied compression therapy on 41 of 84 patients with edema and recurrent cellulitis.

Compression therapy resulted in a 77% reduction in risk of cellulitis and 50% reduction in hospitalizations showing it to be an effective non-pharmaceutical intervention.

As a result, if you experience cellulitis, you may want to consider compression therapy as a method of prevention!

Compression Therapy

Compression therapy is a common treatment that is used to promote blood flow in the lower legs. This can take the form of inflatable devices or bandages and wraps, but most commonly are used in the form of compression socks or stockings.

Please speak to your healthcare provider to make sure that compression therapy is right for you.

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