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Lymphoedema Self Help

Skin Care

Skin can become overstretched and fragile, but it can also seem thicker, tougher and a different texture to the rest of your skin.  The affected area is also more prone to a skin infection called cellulitis. It is important to be vigilant and to try and prevent this happening with self-care.

Clean, Check, Moisturise and Maintain. Avoid sunburn, insect bites, cuts, and scratches – treat immediately should they occur. Prevent blisters and treat fungal infections.


Exercise, Movement and Weight Management

Regular exercise and keeping moving (within your capability) help to control swelling, keeps joints flexible, and helps to control your weight. The lymphatic system depends on movement of the muscles and tissues around the vessels to enable them to collect fluid from the tissue spaces and move it through the vessels and nodes.  The key is gently, slowly, and smoothly, vigorous exercise isn’t necessary to make a difference.  Also practice deep breathing.



Prescribing an appropriate compression garment helps to reduce and contain the swelling. Do not be tempted to buy your own compression – an appropriately trained specialist or therapist needs to assess and measure you to discuss the best style, type and strength of the compression garment required.


Lymphatic Drainage

The use of massage techniques to move fluid through the lymphatic system and to encourage flow to effective drainage routes. This may be done by a specialist therapist as MLD, or a simplified SLD version may be taught to enable self-care or undertaken by a family member or carer.


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