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J Biomech. 2006;39(16):3017-25. Epub 2005 Dec 22.

Experimental assessment and analytical 2D predictions of the stocking pressures induced on a model leg by Medical Compressive Stockings.

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  • 1Mechanical and Materials Engineering Department-SMS Division, Ecole Nationale SupĂ©rieure des Mines de Saint-Etienne, 42023 Saint-Etienne, Cedex 02, France.


Stocking supports have represented, for more than two millennia, the most efficient way to treat the veinous diseases and lymphatic disorders. Although this treatment consists solely in the application of a mechanical pressure to help the blood in reaching back the heart, very little is known on this mechanical effort exerted on a human limb by knitted fabrics. However, nowadays the precise assessment of this pressure distribution is crucial in fitting the treatment to the patient pathology and morphology. In order to describe rationally, for the first time, the pressure distribution induced on a leg, a combined experiment-simulation 2D methodology has been set to validate this mechanical approach. The present article is the first part of a two-papers communication. Experimental aspects are presented here, first to measure these stocking pressures on a rigid leg using the SIGaT((R)) device based on a pneumatic sensor. Then, the knitted fabric mechanical response is characterized under uniaxial tension for large strains, to evaluate the simplified Laplace-based pressure that can be compared with the pressure measurements, knowing the local curvature radii of a leg section. This experimental approach is to be completed with numerical simulations of the stocking mechanism on the same model leg.

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