• Lymphadema - lower leg

    Asked by GypsyJule on Tuesday, May 14, 2013

    Lymphadema - lower leg

    Does anyone have experience with lower leg lymphadema? I saw a physical therapist yesterday who wrapped my leg. It hurts now, and I'm not sure if I should leave it wrapped, as instructed, or if it would be ok to remove the bandages. I really hadn't expected the extreme wrapping. It seems as though the "fix" is much more annoying than the problem. Anyone have any advice?

    10 Answers from the Community

    10 answers
    • Peroll's Avatar

      Call the Dr or physical therapist as soon as possible to ask about removing the wrap. If it hurts more than what it is supposed to cure then that is a sign something is wrong. It is never wrong to call and ask about things that hurt when you don't think they should.

      about 4 years ago
    • emdanuco's Avatar

      Hi Jules, sorry you are hurting. Definitely call Dr and/or PT & keep legs elevated to decrease pressure on the wrapping. Might be too tight. Good luck.

      about 4 years ago
    • GypsyJule's Avatar

      Thank you both. I don't know if it hurts, or it itches. It is just uncomfortable. I have an appointment at 8am, so I'm going to try to ride it out until then. If it hurts during the night, I'll just remove it and discuss with the PT in the morning. I think part of it is the fact that it makes me mad. I though I'd been through the hard stuff. This is NOT what I want to do forever.

      about 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar
      gwendolyn (Best Answer!)

      "I thought I'd been through the hard stuff. This is NOT what want to do forever."

      Well said! I felt/feel the same way. After my initial lymphedema treatment, things got much better for me. I exercise regularly and only have to wear my sleeve/glove when I'm exercising. My lymphedema is well under control for the past six months. Although I loathe the ugly sleeve, I have not had any problems with my lymphedema in a while.

      Sorry you are having a rough time. I hope things get better soon.

      about 4 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      I hope your appointment goes well and they are able to make your poor leg feel better. : ( I've not had to deal w/lymphadema, so I can't give you any advice. Sorry...

      about 4 years ago
    • GypsyJule's Avatar

      Thanks all. She wanted to wrap both of my legs today, and I told her I really hadn't realized the intensity of the treatment, and that I honestly didn't think I was prepared to keep up the regime that they discussed, no disrespect intended, but I know myself. The PT suggested a different type of wrap that was easier to use, but expensive. She's checking my insurance, to see if they will pay. If not, I may buy it anyway. I think I'm more likely to use it than I am to wrap my leg with a mile of bandages every night.

      about 4 years ago
    • tlwald's Avatar

      find a licensed massage therapist certified (make sure they are certified!!!) in lymphatic drainage technique. This is a technique where the lymph nodes are manually drained. Like I said...make sure they are certified in this technique. This technique can help with the uncomfortable feeling. I would follow the instructions given by the physical therapist though and keep it wrapped it that is what was instructed.

      about 4 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar

      I am suprised at the those instructions. I didn't think that lymphadema was caused by cancer so I went to my PC doctor. She did recommend wrapping the legs but not for more than four hours. She also recommended that I sleep with my legs elevated.(really funny for me because I have to sleep sitting up :) ) She recommended also that I watch my salt intake. I found that elevating the legs at night really helped me to sleep.

      about 4 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar

      I just went to see my oncologist yesterday. My lymphadema was pretty bad. The recomendations were the same but he seconded the limit salt. He also added to take twenty minutes (no more no less) three times a day and elevate the legs. He also said to watch this very closely as I am dealing with blood clots.

      about 4 years ago
    • Ivy's Avatar


      I hope your lymphedema treatment is working better. I didn't answer at first because I was starting therapy for lymphedema at about the same time and didn't have any answers yet.

      Of course how much therapy and how intense it is will be based on the extent of your lymphedema. If at all possible, find a certified lymphedema therapist, which is a different category than a typical physical therapist. In my heavily-populated state of NJ, there is only one such site that offers certified lymphedema therapists. You can do an internet search and find the locations of certified lymphedema therapists near your location. Usually the major cancer hospitals offer this, but the smaller locations do not.

      So I've been going to lymphedema therapy twice per week now for 4 weeks. According to my therapists, and I've actually seen 3 different certified lymphedema therapists who all say the same thing, wrapping the leg or ordering customized sleeves is for those who have more serious problems or problems of long-standing. So you may need these, and you may not. (You and your therapist would have to decide that one.)

      The main part of my therapy has been learning manual self-massage, exercises that improve lymph drainage, and wearing compression stockings. (They have to be fitted properly, prescribed, ordered--it all takes time.) All of this is a bit of a drag, but I do see improvement already, so it seems to be worthwhile. The self-massage takes 30-40 minutes per day. The exercises aren't too demanding, but they take another 15-20 minutes. Very glad to be retired, as getting out to work and dealing with all this would be more difficult if work required early departures. I don't like wearing the stockings, but if it means I feel better daily (and I do), and if it means the lymphedema won't get progressively worse (which I've been assured is the case as long as I follow the prescribed regimen), then it's something I can learn to live with.

      Do let us know how you're faring now. Nothing that you're prescribed should be painful. If it continues to be a problem, you might consider working with someone else.

      almost 4 years ago

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