Foot and calf pumps are the primary means by which venous blood from the legs is pumped back up to the heart. Contraction of the calf muscles compresses the veins and forces blood in the deep venous system back towards the heart. The stronger the calf muscles, the stronger the contraction, the greater the volume of blood forced back towards the heart. Calf pumps are almost as important as the heart itself and so, is often referred to as the “second heart”.
Foot and calf pump exercise has been shown to improve circulation and may provide additional therapeutic benefits. It has been reported that structured ankle flexion and extension exercises have the ability to improve ankle joint range of motion and increase calf muscle strength, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the foot and calf pump. A healthy foot and calf pump increases venous return and arterial blood flow, prevents clot formation, reduces pain and swelling, and promotes recovery and a return to activities of daily living.