Lymphedema 101

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At Tierney Orthotics & Prosthetics, our goal is to help you get the high-quality medical support devices you need to recover from any injury or manage any condition. One of the many such conditions that our team can help with is lymphedema, or swelling in the arms or legs that is caused by problems with the lymph nodes. In this article, we’ll provide a basic overview of this condition, including its causes, its symptoms, and the best treatment methods.

Lymphedema 101

  • Causes- Lymphedema is caused by a blockage in your lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. More specifically, the lymphatic system is responsible for collecting excess fluids that drain out from other organs in the body and returning that fluid to the bloodstream. When this system is blocked, that excess fluid remains in the tissues and causes painful swelling. This condition is most commonly associated with the removal of or damage to lymph nodes as part of cancer treatment.
  • Symptoms- As we mentioned above, one of the characteristic symptoms of lymphedema is swelling in the arms or legs. It can also be accompanied by feelings of tightness or heaviness, a reduced range of motion, and hardening and thickening of the skin (also called fibrosis).
  • Treatment- There is currently no cure for lymphedema, but various treatment methods exist to help control the swelling and relieve associated pain. Light exercise has been known to help some patients, as has massage therapy. Our team can supply you with compression garments designed to encourage normal lymph flow, and you can also turn to us with any questions you have.