Managing Lymphedema: Regaining Control Of Your Body And Daily Routine

Lymphedema, which refers to the swelling of various body parts due to accumulated lymph fluid, affects people in various ways. Certain movements or activities may cause discomfort, while in severe cases, activities may be painful or even completely restricted. If you have lymphedema, your lifestyle and daily routine may be affected and limited. The good news is there are things that can help, such as physical therapy in Greensboro, NC, to minimize symptoms and help you enjoy life to a fuller extent.

Start Making Adjustments

There are many things that you can do in your daily life to help manage lymphedema.

Clothing and Shoe Adjustments

If you have swollen extremities, you may find it difficult to find clothing or shoes that fit or do not increase discomfort. If your foot is swollen, you may need to get a custom-made pair of shoes, as you may need a bigger size for the swollen foot. Wearing flat-soled shoes with laces limits swelling and provides support.

Compression bandages are commonly used for those with lymphedema. Consult with a physical therapist near me to see how to properly bandage your extremities. A qualified therapist can also recommend how to seamlessly blend your bandages in with your wardrobe so they are not obvious. For example, you can wear pants with wider legs or cover them up with dark hosiery.


If you do not currently exercise, you may discover that incorporating activity into your daily routine helps minimize the swelling. However, since lymphedema can restrict movement and limit range of motion, you may want to get advice from a physical therapist as to which exercises are the best. Walking, yoga, or any movement that gets the lymph moving, is beneficial.

Nutrition Alterations

Your diet may also affect lymphedema symptoms. Certain individuals, such as those with rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis or are overweight, are at higher risk of skin infections or lymphangitis. Eating an overall healthy diet helps prevent these conditions. Some general advice includes:

  • Increase hydration
  • Eat less processed foods
  • Add more vegetables and fruits
  • Increase fiber intake
  • Incorporate more protein

If you currently have cancer or other health condition, speak with your healthcare provider about diet recommendations that work with your treatment and medications.

How Physical Therapist Can Help

If you have lymphedema, you will benefit from searching for physical therapy near me. Therapists who are experienced in working with clients with lymphedema have many management strategies. Along with providing recommendations for lifestyle changes, physical therapists use manual therapies to improve lymphedema.

One of the purposes of treatment is to get the lymph moving, as this reduces swelling. Therapists use a gentle massaging technique to manually drain the accumulated fluid. A PT may also use sequential pneumatic compression or compression bandages.

Your physical therapist may also incorporate exercise into your therapy sessions. One of the goals of therapy is to improve your range of motion and movement, and your therapist will design a customized program for your situation.

If you have lymphedema, your quality of life does not need to suffer. Contact a physical therapist and make changes to your daily routine to manage symptoms.