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Lymphedema Symptoms & Treatment

  • Category: News
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  • Written By: Myrtue Medical Center

“Lymphedema” is the buildup of abnormally thick lymph fluid creating swelling most often in one or both of the arms or legs. This condition typically develops when lymph nodes or lymph vessels have been damaged, removed, are impaired or even missing resulting in the blockage or interruption in the flow of the lymph.

Symptoms of lymphedema include:

• Persistent swelling in part or all of your arm(s) or leg(s) including fingers or toes
• Heaviness, constriction or tightness in the affected limb
• Limited mobility due to swelling
• Aching or discomfort
• Recurring infections or open wounds
• Discoloration, hardening and thickening of skin

Therapists can help manage lymphedema and provide relief from some of the symptoms. Therapy sessions may include:

• Specific exercises for the affected limb
• Manual lymphatic drainage technique (a form of gentle skin massaging intended to encourage typical drainage of lymph)
• Decongestive therapy with the use of compression stockings or sleeves, or specialized wrapping techniques
• Wound care in coordination with primary care providers

For your certified Physical or Occupational Therapists, please call 712.755.4342.