Effect of foot massage on postoperative pain and vital signs in breast cancer patient

Salwa Hagag Hussien Abdelaziz, Hala Ezzat Mohammed


Background: Pain is a common sequela of surgery and foot massage has been advocated as an effective and easy technique that can be applied independently by nurses to patients in postoperative period to relive pain intensity. It involves a simple technique, costs little and requires no special equipment. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of foot massage on postoperative pain and vital sign parameters in postoperative breast cancer patients.

Methods: A quasiexperimental design was used to investigate any causality between foot massage and postoperative pain with a total of 60 breast cancer patients (n = 30 in the control group who received only analgesic treatment and n = 30 in the experimental group who received analgesic treatment plus foot massage). A structured questionnaire was developed by the researcher to collect data related to participants’ characteristics such as age, level of education, type of surgery and usage of Non-steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs [NSAIDs]. Following an initial complaint from patients that they were experiencing post-operative pain the pain intensity level was assessed by a Visual Analogue Scale [VAS] as a baseline and after 60 minutes and 120 minutes following foot massage. Vital signs were assessed using the same time intervals.

Findings: When analyzing pain levels over time a significant difference was found between both groups with the mean pain level of the experimental group who had experienced foot massage as an adjunct to analgesia being noted to be lower than that of the control group. A statistically significant reduction of systolic and diastolic blood pressure in both groups was also observed but a higher reduction was observed in the experimental group (P < .001) whilst the respiratory rate remained unchanged in both groups.

Conclusion: Foot massage is an effective modality in helping to relieve postoperative pain among women who have been treated with surgery for breast surgery. To promote and improve the quality of foot massage in clinical settings, regular meeting should be held by health team members to discuss the potential positive clinical outcomes, patient benefits and methods of implementation and audit of this technique. Consideration should be given by schools of nursing to include this technique within their nursing curriculum, through the integration of the complementary therapy foot massage technique as part of the considerations on the fundamentals of surgical nursing theory and practice.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v4n8p115

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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