Lymphedema is swelling generally due to a blockage in your lymphatic system. Managing lymphedema early improves outcomes. Proper lymphatic treatment during the chronic stages of the disease can also help.
Our Physical Therapists @ APTSM will serve as an important member of your health care team and will work closely with you to design a treatment program to help control the swelling and meet your goals for returning to your activities.
Our therapists are trained to treat many areas of the body, including: Upper and Lower Extremity, Breast, Cancer, and Head/neck. We specialize in primary Lymphedema Care (Lymphedema occurring on its own) and secondary Lymphedema Care (occurring as a result of another condition).
In the early stages of lymphedema, when the swelling is mild, it can often be managed by compression garments, exercise, and elevation of the affected limb to encourage lymph flow. Initial steps often include manual lymphatic drainage. This is followed by compression bandaging that helps to reduce the swelling. Your therapist will carefully monitor the size of the limb throughout your treatment sessions.
Once the limb has decreased to the desired size, your physical therapist will help you begin to take over your own care by:
Developing a safe and sensible exercise program that will increase your physical fitness without unnecessarily straining your affected arm or leg
Updating your compression garments to ensure proper fitting, working with you to find the type of garment that best meets your needs
Educating you about proper diet to decrease fluid buildup in your tissues and skin care to reduce the risk of infection.