Signs and Symptoms

Lymphedema can occur in any part of the body, most often in the arms and legs, but also the breast or chest wall, head and neck, or genitals. If you are at risk for lymphedema, you should monitor that area. Remember that the onset can be slow, often starting at the furthest part of the limb (hand/wrist, foot/ankle), but any changes should be marked down and communicated with your physician.

Signs and symptoms of lymphedema include:

  • Swelling in the arm, leg, or other body part
  • A feeling of achiness, heaviness, or tingling
  • Change in sensations in your limb(s)
  • Abnormal tightness of clothing, wristwatches, rings, or bracelets
  • Pitting (when an indentation is left in the skin when pressed by your thumb) 
  • Decreased flexibility or range of motion
  • Cellulitis- a skin infection that appears with swelling

If you think you may be experiencing any of these symptoms, or if you notice swelling in an area, even if it goes away, contact your physician. Early therapy by a certified lymphedema therapist (CLT) can improve your symptoms and outcomes.