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Effect Of Yoga On Lower Extremity Function Among Filarial Lymphoedema Patients


Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a neglected mosquito born tropical disease that affects people of low socio-economic group. Filarial lymphoedema has been classified into 4 grades by WHO. Except Grade-1 all other grades 2,3,4 are persistent oedema. There is no pharmacological treatment to cure the disease completely. But leg hygiene is important to prevent progression of disease. If left untreated it may lead to grade 4 and disability will occur, there by mobility of limb is also affected. This disability leads to stress, mental depression and patients lose interest to do any work. Their mobility is restricted, and they complain of pain and difficulty in walking. Therefore, we decided to assess if yoga can be curative and help to improve their physical mobility (Lower extremity function) since already Yoga is being used as a cure for many diseases. Hence by practicing selective asana and pranayama may prove to be a worthy trial in the case of filarial lymphoedema disability.

Materials and Method:
To know the effect of Yoga on lower extremity function among filarial lymphoedema patients, we carried out two arms randomized control trial. Group-1 Experimental group received yoga training (Selective asana and pranayama for 60 minutes, including warm-up and relaxation) along with routine Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention (MMDP) measures which include maintaining leg hygiene by washing the limb, trimming the nail, practicing suitable leg exercises, elevation of the limb, and regular usage of crepe bandages. On the other hand, Group-2 control group received only MMDP measures. We evaluated the impact assessment by testing the mean differences of pre and post measures. We assessed the effect size using the method Cohens d for the significant mean differences.

Regular practice of Yoga along with routine MMDP measures for six months showed betterment in lower extremity function. The results were consistent with respect to grades and duration of oedema, and age of the patients.

Yoga practices have a good, favorable effect on filarial lymphoedema patients’ lower extremity functions.

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Journal Article
Vijayalakshmi G
Mahendiran P
Ramanathan M
Perumal V
De Britto R