What are Lymphedema treatments? Treatment of Lymphedama in Legs, Feet, Arm, Neck and Breast

Lymphedema is a chronic condition characterized by swelling due to the buildup of lymph fluid, often occurring in the legs, feet, arms, neck, and breast. Effective management and treatment of lymphedema are crucial to alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for those affected. This article explores various treatments for lymphedema, with a focus on specific areas of the body, including the legs, feet, arms, neck, and breast.

What are Lymphedema Treatments?

Lymphedema treatments aim to reduce swelling, manage pain, and prevent complications such as infections. The primary goal is to enhance lymphatic drainage and maintain fluid balance within the affected regions. Common treatments include:

  1. Compression Therapy: Utilizing compression garments or bandages to apply pressure and encourage lymph fluid movement .
  2. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD): A specialized massage technique that stimulates lymph flow .
  3. Exercise: Engaging in specific exercises to improve lymphatic function and reduce swelling .
  4. Skin Care: Implementing rigorous skin care routines to prevent infections and complications .
  5. Surgery: In severe cases, surgical options like lymphatic bypass or liposuction may be considered .

Lymphedema Treatment in Legs

Lymphedema in the legs often requires a combination of therapies to manage swelling and discomfort. Compression therapy is commonly used, with patients wearing compression stockings or wraps to promote fluid movement . Manual lymphatic drainage and tailored exercise routines, such as walking or leg lifts, are also integral components of treatment . Elevating the legs regularly and practicing good skin care are essential to prevent infections and further complications .

Lymphedema Treatments in the Feet

Treating lymphedema in the feet involves similar approaches to those used for the legs. Compression garments designed for the feet and ankles help reduce swelling and improve fluid drainage . Manual lymphatic drainage can be particularly effective for targeting fluid buildup in the feet . Patients are encouraged to perform foot-specific exercises, such as ankle pumps and toe curls, to enhance lymphatic flow . Proper footwear and meticulous skin care are crucial to avoid pressure sores and infections .

Lymphedema Treatments in the Arm

For individuals with lymphedema in the arm, compression sleeves and bandages are commonly prescribed to control swelling . Manual lymphatic drainage helps move excess fluid from the arm back into the lymphatic system . Exercise routines focusing on arm movements, such as stretching and lifting light weights, support lymph flow and muscle strength . Maintaining skin health through regular cleaning and moisturizing is vital to prevent complications .

Lymphedema Treatments in the Neck

Lymphedema in the neck can be particularly challenging due to its proximity to vital structures. Compression therapy may involve specialized neck garments or wraps to manage swelling . Manual lymphatic drainage performed by a trained therapist can effectively reduce fluid buildup in the neck . Gentle neck exercises and stretches are recommended to enhance lymphatic circulation . Careful skin care and monitoring for signs of infection are important aspects of treatment .

Lymphedema Treatments in the Breast

Breast lymphedema often occurs after breast cancer treatment, particularly following surgery or radiation therapy. Compression bras or specialized garments help manage swelling in the breast area . Manual lymphatic drainage and specific exercises tailored to the chest and upper body can aid in reducing fluid accumulation . Patients are advised to practice good skin hygiene and monitor for any changes in the breast tissue . In some cases, surgical options may be explored to alleviate persistent lymphedema .

In conclusion, the treatment of lymphedema in the legs, feet, arms, neck, and breast involves a multi-faceted approach tailored to each individual’s needs. Through a combination of compression therapy, manual lymphatic drainage, exercise, skin care, and, when necessary, surgical interventions, patients can effectively manage their condition and improve their quality of life.


  1. Lymphatic Education & Research Network. (n.d.). Compression Therapy. Retrieved from lymphaticnetwork.org
  2. American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Lymphedema. Retrieved from cancer.org
  3. Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Lymphedema Diagnosis and Treatment. Retrieved from mayoclinic.org
  4. National Lymphedema Network. (n.d.). Exercise for Lymphedema. Retrieved from lymphnet.org
  5. Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Lymphedema: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention. Retrieved from clevelandclinic.org
  6. Stanford Health Care. (n.d.). Surgical Treatments for Lymphedema. Retrieved from stanfordhealthcare.org

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