The 1 Most Important Lymphedema Tip

The single most important fact for managing leg lymphoedema is exercise!

Exercise helps lymph fluid move through the lymphatic system. This helps to reduce lymphoedema swelling because exercise makes the muscles contract and push lymph through the lymph vessels. Exercises have other benefits. They can help you to keep a full range of movement and generally make you feel better.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) are reviewing the best exercises. Before you start any exercise, talk to your doctor or lymphoedema specialist.

Remember that what exercise is best for you depends on:

1. How fit you were before the condition

2. How severe your lymphoedema is

3 useful exercise regimes include:

1. Deep Breathing

  • Relax your shoulders and upper chest

  • Take a slow, deep, comfortable breath in and hold it for a couple of seconds

  • Then slowly breathe out

  • Do this 10 times

2. Exercise Routine for Arm Lymphoedema

  • Clench your hand to make a fist and then open and spread your fingers out wide – repeat 10 times

  • With your arm on the cushion and your palm facing down, bend your hand backwards from the wrist so that your wrist stays on the cushion and your fingers point to the ceiling. Then move your hand back down so your fingers are pointing to the floor – repeat 10 times

  • With your arm straight on the cushion and your palm facing upwards lift your arm up so that your hand touches your shoulder – repeat 10 times

  • Put your hand behind your back so that the back of your hand is touching your bottom, then lift your hand up your back as far as you can without discomfort – repeat 10 times

  • Sit upright and lift your arm up so that your hand is behind your head– repeat 10 times

3. Exercise Routine for Leg Lymphoedema

  • With bare feet, curl your toes up and then stretch them out – repeat 10 times

  • With your heel on the floor point your toes away from you then pull your toes towards your chin – repeat 10 times

  • Lift your foot off the floor then circle your ankle clockwise 10 times, then anticlockwise 10 times

  • Lift your foot off the floor then straighten and bend your leg – repeat 10 times


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