Lymphedema Leg: Causes and Treatment

Primary lymphedema, a hereditary condition, is one among the many causes of leg lymphedema. The genetics of the individual are usually responsible for this condition. In such instances, the lymphatic system is deformed at birth, leading to the accumulation of lymph fluid in the lower part of the body, resulting in a swelling. Family history of swelling in the legs is also apparent.

Any injury to the lymph glands like a radiation treatment for cancer in the pelvis, abdomen or groin area may be a causative factor for leg lymphedema. Breast cancer is a common cause for lymphoedema in the upper limbs while it is generally present in the legs in case of cancer treatment for the lung, liver or the prostrate. Excess fluid generation in the stomach area may be another factor to cause a swelling in the legs.

Immediate treatment is advisable once the first symptoms are visible. The most obvious sign is a lump-like, painful swelling. Some other symptoms include a swelling or an accumulation of fluid behind the inner knee area or heaviness in the ankles. You must ensure that you consult with your doctor at the earliest opportunity if you see any suspicious-looking swellings in the leg region. Initial treatment of lymphadema prevents the disease from progressing and getting out of hand. The swelling can be reduced with some simple treatment in the early stages. Keeping the feet elevated and the use of elastic stockings is essential to reduce the swelling. In order to encourage the lymphatic flow at night, you can cover the legs with elastic wraps and keep the foot elevated with the help of pillows.

Exercising the leg even with simple exercises helps to keep leg lymphedema under control. An exercise routine or a daily walk can assist in circulation of the fluids and help to keep lymphedema in check. Just like in any other lymphedema condition, skin hygiene is a must in this case as well. Special care must be taken to wash the legs and feet thoroughly and dry out the creases between the toes to prevent infection. You must take immediate precautions to treat any infection for an ingrown toe nail, so as to avoid complications.

It is essential for leg lymphedema patients to wear comfortable footwear with soft padding to avoid foot injuries. While cutting toenails, utmost care must be taken to avoid injury. Wearing tight clothes, socks, or undergarments with tight elastic are a strict no-no.

This may squeeze the limb, increase the blood pressure and cause a swelling due to water retention, complications which a lymphedema patient cannot afford to have. While travelling by air it is essential to have on compression stockings. There may be no cure for lymphedema leg condition, but with proper care, the symptoms can be reduced and the onset of the disease, delayed.