Lymphedema is a particular kind of swelling that occurs when fluid collects abnormally beneath the surface of the skin where lymph vessels are damaged. It typically affects the arms and legs, though can occur elsewhere in the body.
One of the first symptoms of lymphedema is “heaviness in the arms or legs.” It is also often accompanied by pain, soreness, and hardening of the skin (fibrosis) in the affected area. Lymphedema is frequently the result of cancer treatment that damages or removes the lymph nodes and can occur immediately after surgery or many years later. If you’re experiencing this kind of swelling, swift diagnosis and treatment is necessary to prevent infection or aggravation.
We can also help patients suffering from venous insufficiency, which is similar to lymphedema and involves the collection or pooling of blood in the tissue of the legs. In a healthy person, the blood is smoothly circulated between the heart and legs, but someone suffering from venous insufficiency has trouble sending the blood back up to the heart. This causes the veins to remain full of blood, swelling the legs and causing discomfort.
Symptoms include a sensation of heaviness, aching, redness or skin color changes in the legs, as well as varicose veins or fibrosis of the skin. You are at risk for venous insufficiency if you have a family history of the condition, sit or stand for long periods, or if you’re obese, pregnant, or tall.
Catching it early is always best for effective treatment, but if you have had swelling for a long time we can still help. Treatment may include a special kind of massage, exercise, and/or wrapping of the limb. We may also prescribe a compression garment, and can provide you with either an over-the-counter garment or a custom-fit one depending on your needs.
The therapists at R&P are trained to treat swelling conditions such as lymphedema and venous insufficiency. Wendolyn Rue PT, CLT is certified in manual lymphatic drainage from the Acadamy of Lymphatic Studies. Treating lymphedema is part of her commitment to helping patients with the process of cancer recovery. As a certified lymphedema therapist, Wendolyn offers complete decongestive therapy ( CDT) with manual lymphatic drainage(MLD), which is the gold standard of treatment for this debilitating condition.
We offer free consultations to women who have had to have lymph glands removed due to breast cancer, uterine or ovarian cancer. Knowledge is the key to good health. Wendolyn wants to shout from the rooftops, “ Let me help you!” We believe in helping patients lead their healthiest, most active, and pain-free lives, and would love to consult with you regarding any swelling concerns.
Please call if you have any questions!