3 Tips for Treating Lymphedema with Compression Wraps
Lymphedema, also referred to as lymphatic obstruction, is a condition in which excess fluid collects inside body tissues. The buildup of this fluid occurs due to a blockage in the lymphatic system, a complex network of vessels and organs that help maintain fluid balance.
Swelling, also known as edema, may occur in various areas of the body, such as the arms, legs, or feet. Having the condition can make it difficult to control this fluid buildup. There is no cure for lymphatic obstruction, but it can be managed effectively. Compression wraps are one way to combat lymphedema and live more healthfully.
Consider talking to your doctor about these products and other possible treatments. In the meantime, we’ll explain why compression wear may be right for you. Once you read them over, you’ll be inspired to take the next step in your quest for wellness.
1. Wear the Wraps While You Exercise
Some people with lymphedema are already used to wearing compression socks, hosiery, or arm sleeves, especially during a walk or workout. If this sounds like you, know that you are free to wear your wraps throughout the day, just like you do with your other compression wear. If you’re new to compression gear, you can always ramp up your use of the product to see if it’s right for you.
Start by wearing your ankle, leg, or arm wrap while you exercise. This will help move fluid throughout your limb while encouraging the right amount of blood circulation. It’s also an excellent opportunity to test how the wrap assists with random swelling.
Once you observe the benefits of compression wraps during physical activity, you may want to increase your use. Since you can easily take the wrap on and off, try wearing it as you work or complete your activities around the house. Take advantage of the support and increased blood flow while you complete your chores, run errands, or enjoy your favorite hobbies. If you think you need a break, you can easily take it off.
2. Quickly Adjust Your Fit as Needed
Over time, you may notice a pattern in your lymphedema symptoms. In your case, your swelling may occur more at night. It’s also possible to experience more inflammation and discomfort after being on your feet for a long period of time.
When you see your condition start to change, feel free to loosen or tighten the fit of your wrap. It may be time for more pressure and fluid buildup removal, so you can make the garment more secure. If you have a chance to put your feet up on a leg rest or are preparing to go to bed, you can loosen the wrap to let your skin breathe. Stockings and long socks can be much more inconvenient to swap out or adjust, especially while working or traveling.
3. Pair Them with Other Helpful Products
Along with your compression wraps for the arms, legs, and feet, there are other lymphedema products you may find helpful. Gauntlets can reduce swelling in the hands, which can be helpful if you work at a keyboard, play an instrument, or love to cook in the kitchen. An armsleeve with a shoulder strap feature can make it easier to carry a bag or purse, while accessories like armsleeve “slippies” can make it easier to put the product on your body.
A leg rest can help relieve swelling when you want to take your wraps off at night. This tool may also help you to nap or sleep better. While you may find you prefer wraps for compression, a combination of gear such as socks and hosiery can be worn to look fashionable and help reduce lymphedema symptoms when you’re attending a formal event or taking photographs.
Live Better with Lymphedema Compression Wear
It doesn’t matter the reason for your condition—you want to live your best life, even with symptoms of lymphedema. Compression wraps can help make it possible. While you explore your compression options, keep the conversation going with your doctor. Discover which lifestyle changes you can introduce to make it easier to live with your symptoms. When you combine reliable, durable compression products with a positive attitude and commitment to wellness, there is nothing you can’t conquer.
Kaki Zell - Vice President of Sales, Marketing, eCommerce at Legs-4-Life LLC Kaki holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She’s been working in the medical device industry for over 11 years and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Greensboro Science Center.
Written January 2020 | Page Last Updated January 2022
Britannica. “Lymphatic System, Structure, Function, & Facts” https://www.britannica.com/science/lymphatic-system
Cure Today. “Making Headway Against a Common and Disruptive Problem: Lymphedema” https://www.curetoday.com/view/making-headway-against-a-common-and-disruptive-problem-lymphedema
Medical News Today. “Lymphedema: Symptoms, Treatments, and Causes” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/180919