Lymphedema is swelling generally in the arms or legs due to a blockage in your lymphatic system. Identifying and treating lymphedema early helps ensure faster and better outcomes, but even treatment later on, during the chronic stages of the disease, can still help.
Your physical therapist will serve as an important member of your health care team and will work closely with you to design a treatment program to help control the swelling and meet your goals for returning to your activities and reduce risk for infection.
Lymphedema is a condition in which our therapists are specialty trained to treat. We treat the upper and lower quadrant. this includes but not limited to breast cancer, peripheral vascular disease, and lower extremity.
How your physical therapist can help:
- The initial step often includes manual lymphatic drainage, which feels like a light form of massage and helps improve the flow of lymph from your arm or leg.
- Developing a safe and sensible exercise program that will increase your physical fitness without unnecessarily straining your affected arm or leg
- Compression bandaging that helps to reduce the swelling
- Updating your compression garments to ensure proper fitting, working with you to find the type of garment that best meets your needs
- Educating you about proper diet to decrease fluid buildup in your tissues and skin care to reduce the risk of infection