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Recognizing Lymphedema

Lymphedema is when an area of your body swells due to a disturbance to your lymph system. This is common after lymph nodes are removed or when lymph nodes are scarred down and not functioning properly after surgery or radiation.

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a technique used to clear fluid from the limb. MLD is performed by a physical therapist with special training in lymphedema.

At TEAM Physical Therapy, we have physical therapists trained in MLD and oncology rehab. Physical therapy may include the use of wraps or compression garments, exercise, skin care education, and self-management techniques to optimize the function of your limb. Our goal is to get you back to living life to the fullest.

How do you know if you have lymphedema? Ask yourself these key questions:

  • Do you have pain, aching, heaviness, fatigue, or tingling in your arm or leg?
  • Do you have a tightness in your arm, chest, or other affected area after surgery or radiation therapy that limits your ability to move or reach?
  • Do you see or feel thin cord-like bands in your armpit?
  • Do you notice fluid collecting or thickening tissue in your incision area?
  • Do you notice weakness in your affected limb?
  • Do you have treatment-related pain?
  • Do you have achiness or heaviness in your limb that increases with activity?

If you notice any signs of lymphedema, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Early treatment can reduce permanent changes from occurring in the affected area. Ask your doctor how TEAM Physical Therapy can help. We have offices in five convenient locations to serve you.