A Physical Therapy evaluation of lymphedema includes taking a detailed history, performing a functional assesment, measuring the circumference of both the affected limb and the opposite limb, assessing the grade of the edema, measuring active/passive range of motion, and assessing strength. Treatments for lymphedema often include manual lymph drainage, therapeutic exercises, compression, and patient education.
|an example of upper extremity lymphedema|
- Avoid a tourniquet effect on the affected limb, avoiding elastic bands or ACE bandages for compression.
- Avoid putting a blood pressure cuff on the affected limb.
- Avoid temperature extremes.
- Avoid hot water, saunas, hot tubs, and heat packs.
- Be careful when cutting your nails.
- Avoid cutting your cuticles during manicures or pedicures, especially at a salon.
- Avoid needle sticks to the affected limb.
- Avoid cuts, insect bites, burns, and other injuries to the skin of the affected limb.
- Do not lift more than 5 pounds with the affected arm unless wearing a compression sleeve.
- Do not perform prolonged, strenuous resistance exercises unless wearing a compression sleeve.
- Keep your skin clean.
- Keep the skin of the affected limb moisturized with low pH lotion.
- Wear sunscreen when outdoors.
- Wear insect repellent.
- Wear gloves when cooking and gardening.
Here is a link to a video about rehabilitation after breast cancer surgery: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/health/2012/10/10/breast-cancer-rehab.cnn.