Lymphedema symptoms include:
- Swelling of part of your arm or leg or your entire arm or leg, including your fingers or toes
- A feeling of heaviness or tightness in your arm or leg
- Restricted range of motion in your arm or leg
- Aching or discomfort in your arm or leg
- Recurring infections in your affected limb
- Hardening and thickening of the skin on your arm or leg
The swelling caused by lymphedema ranges from mild, hardly noticeable changes in the size of your arm or leg to extreme swelling that can make it impossible to use the affected limb. If your lymphedema is caused by cancer treatment, you may not notice any swelling until months or years after treatment.
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice any persistent swelling in your arm or leg.
Nov. 15, 2011
- Lymphedema. Society for Vascular Surgeons. http://www.vascularweb.org/vascularhealth/Pages/lymphedema.aspx?PF=1. Accessed Aug. 25, 2011.
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- Creager MA, et al. Vascular diseases of the extremities. In: Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed. Accessed Aug. 25, 2011.
- Mohler ER. Lymphedema: Etiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 25, 2011.
- Lawenda BD, et al. Lymphedema: A primer on the identification and management of a chronic condition in oncologic treatment. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2009;59:8.