Are you having a hard time recognizing your feet, ankles or knees due to swelling? Many pregnant women would say “welcome to my world”. The good news is that swelling can be prevented and managed with the right know how.
Here’s what happening to your body.
The lymphatic system collects lymph (excess fluid, proteins, and other substances) from the body tissues and carries them back to the bloodstream. Edema -- a fancy way of saying swelling -- is defined as a local or generalized condition in which the body tissues contain an excessive amount of tissue fluid.
Edema can cause a full range of conditions and lead to a tremendous effect on the quality of people’s daily life. These patients can suffer from pain, stiffness, loss of range of motion, scar tissue and fibrosis, recurrent skin infections, weakness, fatigue, restricted function and difficulties with reintegration back to their work life, home life and recreational activities.
So, what can physical therapy do to help get the swell away?
- Modalities: Such as electrical stimulation. Electrical Stimulation to achieve rhythmic contraction of muscles in an area of localized swelling, enhancing the musculoskeletal pump.
- Therapeutic exercises: Include range of motion, stretching and strengthening to enhance venous and lymphatic flow to decrease the swelling.
- Patient education: To maintain decreased swelling, posture re-education, body mechanics, skin and nail care. People with lymphedema are at higher risk for skin infections.
- Compression garment and bandage: Socks, bandages or tape can help to maintain a limb size and prevent re-cumulation of fluid during the day when the limb is dependent and provide gradient pressure to the limb.
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage: MLD can help with reducing the swollen significantly, which can also improve the healing process effectively. Some other key benefits include, increases lymph flow, helps remove harmful toxins from tissues, reduces swelling, re-routes fluid from congested area and soften connective tissues.
Experiencing any of the following symptoms? Give us a call at 212-402-5430 to help!
- Discomfort or pain in affected limb and joint
- Decreased ﬂexibility in the affected joint
- Swelling in your arms, legs, shoulders, hands, fingers, or chest
- Skin that feels tighter, harder, or thicker than normal in the affected area
- Aching or a feeling of heaviness in your arm or leg
- Weakness in your arm or leg
- Infections in the affected limb
- Discolored skin on the limb
- Post-traumatic Edema
- Post-surgical Edema
- Removal of lymph nodes in the underarm, groin, or pelvic region
- "Pitting" in the tissues of your limb
- Difficulty doing your daily activities
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome
- Migraine Headache
- Sinus Headache
Hsing-I Hsieh, PT, DPT