Gardening  •  Running  •  Golf  •  Lymphedema  •  Bell's Palsy  •  Urinary Incontinence  •  Shovelling


Lymphedema is swelling of a body part, usually the arm or leg. It can also occur in the abdomen, groin, face, neck and lung.

The heart pumps oxygenated blood to the tissues. The lymph vessel system assists the veins in removing fluid, bacteria and waste products from the tissues and transports these back to the heart. Any damage or malfunctioning of the lymph system affects its ability to cleanse the body, increasing ones risk of infection. Lymphedema is a serious condition that requires attention.

Sadly many people are told there is no treatment available. Lymphedema is chronic and progressive but with good care and education lymphedema can be managed. It is pertinent to recognize the symptoms early on.

Symptoms may include:
  • deep ache, tightness, or heaviness of a limb
  • swelling of a body part or difficulty fitting into clothing or jewellery in one area
  • decreased flexibility of the hand, wrist, shoulder or ankle
  • repeated infections or skin thickening

As the condition continues to progress lymph fluid may even leak from the hardened distended limb

There are 2 types of lymphedema.
Primary lymphedema is associated with a decreased number of lymphatic pathways due to heredity. It may appear at birth or appear later in life Secondary lymphedema is caused by injury, scarring or as a result of radiation and/or surgery involving the lymph nodes in the armpit, neck, pelvis or groin. Radiation or surgery of this type may be used for cancers of the breast, uterus, ovary, bladder, prostate, testicle, malignant melanoma, or lymphomas. Secondary lymphedema can occur at any time in a persons life after such treatment.

Physiotherapy treatment at this clinic includes:
  • Manual lymph drainage which is a specialized gentle massage designed to reroute the fluid through alternative functioning pathways
  • Compression bandaging or garments
  • Education regarding lymphedema, self care, warning signs and risk reduction
  • Appropriate exercise
  • Skin Care/ hygiene including suggested products

By Faye Cronan BSC(PT)
Registered Physiotherapist
Combined Decongestive Therapy Practitioner