How Do You Treat Lymphedema In The Legs

By Peter Henderson, MD

After your lymph nodes have been damaged or removed, you may experience swelling in your legs called lymphedema. All around your body, remote nodes called lymph nodes resemble beans. They aid in the removal of fluid from various bodily parts. If the fluid cannot be expelled, the tissue starts to expand.

The lymph nodes close to your pelvic are removed during surgery to eradicate any leftover malignancy. Your legs might develop lymphedema as a result of this. Additionally, your risk is increased if you have undergone radiation treatment or had your groin’s lymph nodes removed. If only your pelvic lymph nodes were removed, you have a lower chance of developing lymphedema in your legs.

Following surgery, lymphedema may appear right away or years later.

Developing Lymphedema in Your Legs: Risk Factors

Your legs might develop lymphedema for the following reasons:

Lowering Your Lymphedema Risk

Although it is impossible to predict who may develop lymphedema, there are several things you can do that could reduce your risk.

Defend your skin

Preventing your skin from being injured or infected as much as possible is one strategy to lower your chances of developing lymphedema. This is due to the cells that fight infection travelling to the swelling-causing injury site. This additional fluid may not be able to drain from your legs.

Care your Burn

Apply a towel-wrapped cold pack to the burn for 15 minutes. You might also splash the burn with cool water.

Watch out for signs of infection in the afflicted leg or legs, such as:

Don’t wear tight clothing

Wearing socks or jogging trousers with an elastic cuff that are too tight and create deep markings on your legs is not a good idea. Dress comfortably in loose clothes that won’t scuff your legs.

The way that compression clothing is designed to minimize oedema functions varies. They apply consistent pressure and aid in transferring fluid up the leg. The “Compression stockings” part of this page has further information about compression stockings.

Steer clear of severe temperatures

Extreme temperatures may lead to fluid accumulation and oedema in your leg. Spend as little time as possible in the sauna and hot tub.

Additional strategies to lower your risk

Avoid using sharp instruments for pedicures. Instead of clipping your nails, use cuticle remover and file them.

Therapy for lymphedema

You can work with a lymphedema therapist to address the problem if lymphedema worsens. The term “full decongestive therapy” refers to this procedure.

The procedure entails:


Your legs are bandaged when wrapped in a distinctive, tight bandage. Not everyone will require this. There are numerous different techniques to dress if necessary. To determine what is best for you, you and your therapist will talk about it.

Manual lymphatic drainage

A mild massage is known as manual lymphatic drainage (MLD). It transports fluid from your legs to an area where your body can absorb it again. MLD is completed in a particular order depending on which lymph nodes were removed. The sequence that works best for you will be decided by your therapist.

Compression hose

Your lymphatic system performs better when you wear compression stockings. Some people decide to wear them to lower their risk of lymphedema. Your compression stockings need to fit you appropriately.


Keep your skin hydrated and clean. This is crucial for lowering your risk of infection and possibly reducing your chance of developing lymphedema.


Walking is a terrific example of a gentle activity that will help your body’s fluids circulate freely. If you can, try to take a stroll each day.

Below are some workouts that will keep your strength and flexibility in check. Before beginning any exercise, discuss it with your healthcare physician.

Perform these exercises once each day if your doctor gives the go-ahead. Stop if you experience pain, discomfort, weariness, swelling, or feeling more weak or tired than usual.

Peter Henderson

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