Skip to content

Lymphedema, What You Need to Know

Lymphedema involves swelling of your arms and legs, most common for legs, though it can occur on both your arms and legs. Did you know that 1 in every 1,000 Americans suffers from lymphedema? The disease can occur to persons of all ages but is most likely to occur to the overweight, elderly, and people with arthritis.

However, it is possible to recover from lymphedema and resume your daily routine. If lymphedema interferes with your life, Tamarac lymphedema specialists at Advanced Foot, Ankle, & Wound Specialists, PA, can help you recover and restore your health. Call them today to learn more about lymphedema treatments.

What Is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a severe medical condition that causes swelling of your legs and arms. The condition usually occurs after removing or damaging your lymph nodes due to cancer treatment, infection, or surgery.

There is no known cure for lymphedema, but the disease is treatable and manageable with early detection.

What Are the Symptoms of Lymphedema?

Lymphedema usually occurs in one arm or leg. The common symptoms of lymphedema include:

  • Limited range of motion.
  • Swelling in the limb, extending to the fingers or toes.
  • Hardening or thickening of the skin.
  • Recurring infection.
  • A feeling of tightness or achiness.

Lymphedema is different for everyone, and the swelling usually ranges from mild to severe, making it hard to move your arm or leg. Lymphedema resulting from cancer treatment occurs months or years later after the treatment.

What Are the Causes of Lymphedema?

The lymphatic system plays a vital role in enhancing your health. It allows circulation of the lymph fluid throughout your body, which enhances the collection of bacteria, viruses, and waste products.

The lymphatic system carries the fluid and harmful substances through lymph vessels to lymph nodes. Lymphocytes present in the lymph nodes filter the waste and flush them out of your body.

Lymphedema occurs when the lymph vessels are unable to drain the lymph fluid. It can either occur as primary (occurring on its own) or secondary (caused by a disease or condition). Secondary lymphedema is more common compared to primary lymphedema.

How to Prevent Lymphedema?

Some of the things you can do after your cancer surgery to lower your risk of lymphedema include:

  • Resting your arm and leg during recovery.
  • Avoiding heat on the affected limb.
  • Protecting your arms and legs from injury.
  • Elevating the affected limb.
  • Avoiding tight clothing.


At the consultation, your provider evaluates your health history and asks about your symptoms and lifestyle. Your doctor may order an MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound to get a clear picture of your lymphatic system and identify the underlying cause.


Your treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms. The team at Advanced Foot, Ankle, & Wound Specialists may recommend the following treatments:

  • Light exercises.
  • Massage.
  • Pneumatic compression.
  • Wrapping your arm or leg.
  • Compression garments.
  • Complete decongestive therapy.

In severe cases, your provider may recommend surgery to remove the excess tissue.

Consult a Lymphedema Specialist Today

If you have lymphedema that affects your daily life, the Advanced Foot, Ankle & Wound Specialists team can help manage and treat your condition. Call their offices today to schedule your appointment and benefit from their care.