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What Is Lymphedema

Lymphedema is a long-term (chronic) condition caused by buildup of lymphatic fluid. This happens in the lymphatic system, usually in parts of the body where lymph nodes or lymph drainage channels are either faulty or damaged and cannot function as normal. This causes swellings called lymphedema, in the area where lymph flow is blocked. Most often, the swelling is in an arm or leg, but can also develop in other areas of the body such as:

  • Chest or Back 

  • Abdomen

  • Genitals 

  • Head, Neck or Face

  • Breast 

  • Armpit 

  • Pelvic area 

Recognizing Symptoms

  • Gradual or sudden swelling

  • Feelings of heaviness, tightness, or heat

  • Aches and shooting pains

  • Reduced joint mobility and movement

  • Skin infection, also known as cellulitis

High Risk Groups

  • Traveler - travelling for long periods of time can sometimes cause blood clots in the leg due to immobility 

  • Obesity - higher risk to having skin changes and ulcerations due to venous and lymphatic drainage disorders 

  • Pregnancy - at risk for blood clots, this risk increase 100-folds in the first week after baby is born  

  • Sitting/Standing Occupation - long periods of sitting/standing (e.g. hairdresser, cashier, nurses, teachers, truck drivers) are at risk in developing evening edema 

How Compression Garments Help

  • Helps reduce the recurrence of venous leg ulcers

  • Stockings worn during exercise helps reduce muscle soreness

  • Relieve chronic venous disease symptoms; such as swelling, painful legs and skin discolouration

  • Reduces risk of post-thrombotic syndrome

Lymphedema Management

Step 1: Physician 

Step 2: Lymphedema Therapist 


Step 3: Certified Fitter 

Confirms diagnosis, gives recommendation and refers to therapist

Applies combined decongestive therapy and educates patient on lymphedema and self-management


Measures and fits compression garments and educates patient on compression garments and importance of compliance

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