Lymphedema signs and symptoms, which occur in your affected arm or leg, include:
- Swelling of part or all of your arm or leg, including fingers or toes
- A feeling of heaviness or tightness
- Restricted range of motion
- Aching or discomfort
- Recurring infections
- Hardening and thickening of the skin (fibrosis)
The swelling caused by lymphedema ranges from mild, hardly noticeable changes in the size of your arm or leg to extreme changes that make the limb hard to use. Lymphedema caused by cancer treatment may not occur until months or years after treatment.
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice persistent swelling in your arm or leg.
Oct. 23, 2014
- Lymphedema. Society for Vascular Surgeons. http://www.vascularweb.org/vascularhealth/Pages/lymphedema.aspx?PF=1. Accessed Sept. 17, 2014.
- Lymphedema (PDQ): Health professional version. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/supportivecare/lymphedema/healthprofessional/AllPages/Print. Accessed Sept. 16, 2014.
- Mohler ER, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of lymphedema. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 16, 2014.
- Chiu TW. Management of secondary lymphoedema. Hong Kong Medical Journals. 2014;20:1.
- Lymphedema (PDQ): Patient version. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/supportivecare/lymphedema/Patient/page1. Accessed Sept. 16, 2014.
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