Reducing Lymphedema Swelling Arm

Lymphedema is the abnormal swelling of the extremities- arms and legs- due to the damage caused to lymph nodes for reasons like mastectomy, lumpectomy, radiation therapy, accidents or severe infection. The lymphedema swelling arm and leg can however be brought under control by keeping few things in mind.


Exercises Exercising regularly is one of the key methods of restraining the advancement of lymphedema. It is important to talk to your doctor or physiotherapist before starting these exercises, as well as communicating any difficulties you may come across while working out. Over-exertion should be avoided at all costs. There are several lymphedema arm exercises which you can do every day, such as:

· Clenching and making a fist, and then opening and spreading the fingers out. Repeat several times.

· Keeping your arm rested straight on a cushion with your palm facing upwards, lift the arm gently so that your palm touches your shoulder. Repeat several times.

· Sit upright and lift your arm so that your hand touches the back of your head. Repeat several times.

You can refer to our lymphedema arm exercises post about arm exercises that might be very beneficial in controlling the swelling arm.

Maintaining a healthy weight

With the help of a nutritious, well-balanced diet coupled with light exercises, one can maintain a healthy weight since obesity increases the risk of lymphedema (as reported by Low-calorie foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains and low-fat dairy products along with protein rich chicken breast, fish, soy and beans are highly recommended for keeping your weight under a check. Keeping yourself hydrated is also important.

Even though lymph is a protein-rich fluid, reducing your natural protein intake is not advisable. High sodium-content foods, such as canned soups and vegetables, certain types of cheese, processed and fast food should be avoided.

Skin Care

Proper skin care can go a long way in helping reduce arm swelling caused by lymphedema. The skin should be kept well moisturized and protected from breaks to avoid infections. Infections can be responsible for increasing swelling in arms and hence must be avoided. As much as possible, electric razors should be preffered since they offer a smaller risk of cuts and abrasions.

Compression Garments

If you notice a swelling arm, lymphedema compression arm sleeves can help contain the inflammation and pain. These garments, either tailor-made or bought over-the-counter, encourage the flow of lymph fluid out of the limbs through the constant pressure they apply and hence help reduce the swelling. Wearing such garments while performing decongestive exercises is an integral part of therapy. It is highly recommended that you refer to your doctor or physician before deciding on what kind of garment would suit your requirements best.

These garments are worn throughout the day but can be taken off during the night. It is recommended that you wear lymphedema compression arm sleeves first thing in the morning (but not right after a shower, since it might then be difficult to put these tight garments on).

A handy tip is to use a rubber glove on your unaffected arm as it might give you better grip while putting on the compression garment. You can also put on some unscented talcum powder on the affected arm so that the garment slides on it with relative ease.

Compression garments should not be used if you have hypersensitive or broken skin, or if the skin is leaking lymph fluid. If needed, compression bandaging is used to first reduce swelling arm’s size before wearing these specialized compression garments.

For finding your perfect fit browse through our exclusive range of lymphedema compression slimming arm sleeves.

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