Blog #12: The Basics of Lymphedema by Chris Schattinger, MS, CSCS, CISSN

Have you ever wondered if recovery is the only thing that compression clothing can assist in? Despite all the advertising that pushes this (it’s not wrong by the way) you might be surprised to learn that compression clothing can aid those with a condition called Lymphedema. Today we will get a basic understanding of Lymphedema before explaining how compression can help to reduce it in our next blog.

If you could not guess by the name Lymphedema relates to the lymphatic system. One of the primary roles of the lymphatic system is to assist in the removal of excess fluid from the tissues. This fluid is ultimately returned to the bloodstream. Lymphedema occurs when the lymphatic system does not properly remove this fluid and excessive amounts of fluid accumulate. This can lead to swelling and discomfort typically in the arms and legs.

Anything that disrupts the flow of lymph fluid through the lymphatic system will cause Lymphedema. Specifically, when Lymphedema does develop it is commonly seen with cancer, cancer treatment, infection, trauma or scar tissue. Stay tuned for our next blog when we will discuss how the use of compression clothing can actually help to reduce Lymphedema!