What is Lymphedema or Phlebolymphedema?
Lymphedema is a disease in which there is impaired drainage of lymphatic fluid resulting in swelling in one or more parts of the body. The most common cause of secondary lymphedema in the United States is Phlebolymphedema.
It is a combined lymphatic and venous condition that causes inflammation and swelling in the feet and lower legs. Phlebolymphedema is often under recognized but is vital to manage. If not properly managed it can lead to wounds, recurrent infections, and pain.
You can manage phlebolymphedema using complete decongestive therapy (CDT) by a certified lymphedema therapist (CLT). CDT consists of four components: skin care, exercise, manual lymph drainage (MLD), and compression.
Skin care is vital to the health of your legs. Your lymphedema therapist will teach you precautions to take in your daily life to improve and maintain the health of your skin. Exercise is another key component. The lymphatic system does not have its own pump therefore it relies on the contraction of muscles to aid in lymphatic flow. This can be done by walking or performing simple exercises at home.
Manual lymph drainage is a gentle manual technique to improve lymphatic flow. Your therapist will perform this technique on you and will also teach you how to do it at home. Finally, compression bandages can reduce the swelling in your legs. This is a multilayer bandage technique using padding and short stretch bandages. After your leg swelling has reduced, your therapist will fit you for a compression garment to best fit your needs.
Lymphedema is a chronic condition that will need to be managed throughout your life. At Indiana Vein Specialists we are here to help you manage this condition with knowledge and compassion.