• Swelling in arms, legs, shoulders, hands, fingers, chest, or neck.
  • Restricted range of motion in the joints because of swelling and tissue changes
  • Pitting (indentation) in the tissues of your limb (made by pressing a finger on the skin that takes time to “fill in” after removing the pressure).
  • Skin that feels tighter, harder, or thicker than normal in the affected area.
  • Skin discoloration
  • Pain and altered sensation
  • Limb heaviness:- Aching, tingling, or a feeling that your arm or leg is heavy.
    • Difficulty fitting into clothing ,rings, bracelets, or shoes that fit tighter than before.
    • Repeated infections in your arm or leg.

    NOTE:- If you have fever and chills, and your limb with lymphedema is red, swollen, or painful and feels warm to the touch, you may have an infection. Contact your doctor.


Physiotherapist will work closely with you to design a treatment program to help control the swelling and meet your goals for returning to your activities.

Education regarding the following points are paramount 

  • Self MLD
  • Infection prevention
  • Exercise
  • Instruction in proper diet to decrease fluid retention
  • how to avoid injury and infection, anatomy
  • Self bandaging and use of compression garments. Garment fitting
  • Weight control
  • Avoid venipuncture in the affected extremity
  • Avoidance of other constricting items; do not take B.P measurements on the affected extremity
    • Compression garments.
    • In the early stages of lymphedema, when the swelling is mild, it often can be managed by techniques that encourage lymph flow such as:
    • Elevation of the affected limb.
    For more severe swelling, your physical therapist may use a treatment plan called complete decongestive therapy to help improve the flow of lymph fluid. This includes: 
    • Manual lymphatic drainage, which feels like a light form of massage.
    • to help improve the flow of lymph from the affected arm or leg from proximal to distal
    • A personalized exercise program.
    • Compression bandaging to help reduce your swelling.
    • Providing you with information on skin and nail hygiene to reduce the risk of infection. 
    • Skin Hygiene and care (such as cleaning the skin of the arm or leg daily and moisten with lotion).
    • Exercise to improve cardiovascular health and help decrease swelling in some cases.
    • Short/low stretch Compression garment wear following lymphatic drainage.
    • Your physical therapist will carefully monitor the size of your affected limb throughout your treatment sessions. 
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