Leg lymhedema (calf)

Hi x. I'm new to this site and I've just been diagnosis with lymphedema in my calf. Luckily early stages they are having trouble getting a compression stocking to fit me I'm on my third one already. I've gained weight too which is starting to get to me and been told this is related the the condition. Any ideas on who to help the weight loss and I'm hoping to know be refered to a clinic to get a full leg garment that actually fits.....

10 Replies

Hello! Unfortunately I have experience with lymphedema, mine is primary.

My opinion:

loose weight is very important (fat attracts water attracts fat… :( ):

- Go swimming! It might be embarrassing in the beginning, but the deep breathing stimulates the lymph system and the water gives a good pressure to the lymph system. Don't mind people looking, it will help and your health is the most important

- Eat healthy and especially non processed food: no bread, meat, … but vegetables, grapefruit,… I juice a lot : green stuff like spirulina with celery and flat parsley , cucumber and lemon juice… It is tasty and very healthy for you! Helps to clean out your body

- Go to a fysiotherapist trained in Manual Lymph Drainage.

- In a worse case: get a compression therapy (multi-layer compression to reduce accumulation of fluid).

When all this reduces the fluid , you get special and strong stockings (preferable thigh high) to keep the results.

The stockings are a way to keep your leg from worsening but it is not a therapy to reduce the lymphedema…

It is a lot of effort, but if your lymphedema is recent, it is worth to do it. If you leave it like it is, it will be hard to get back from where you came since the lymphedema water will get hard and then it will stay there :(. Then you are very sensitive to infections and that will make it worse again…

Good luck! Keep it under control, I am very hopeful that i will experience a novel treatment in my life for this instead of this time and money consuming treatment available now. Medicine is going fast now, it is worth doing the best we can in the mean while !


What a sensitive and refreshingly

positive reply above. Breath of

fresh air. I didn't realise how good

it wax to swim. Thank you

1 like

I think it is common that one goes through a number of stockings before you find out what works for you. That is what happened to me, at least. I am measured everytime I order new stockings but most often it is the same every time.

Try to cut down your salt intake as salt binds the fluid to the tissue. I have a little "poll" on my blog that shows that many lymphedema patients also swells extra from alcohol, sugar and dairyproducts.

I have a mini trampoline at home that I sometimes use, many patients find that it softens up the tissue and provide better circulation and thus less swelling.

All the best :-)


I have stopped eating Chinese food as the soy sauce swells my legs have bought some knee high men's spandex socks as my legs are sensitive and it seems to help..I have also bought compression boots online to help me but my weight is out of control..


Are you being fitted for a made to measure compression garment or one off the shelf. It makes a difference. 62carolo


Swimming is brilliant, it helps because of the water pressure as well as being a good form of low impact exercise. Try to get made to measure garments as they will help a lot. I get mine on prescription through the lymph specialist nurse i see. If you are in the early stages it is possible to keep get your legs to near normal more easily by getting the right treatment now and not by being fobbed off by people who do not understand the condition and the impact upon you. Also remember to moisturise regularly, i use hydromol which tends not be as greasy as some of the other products and does not clump which when you have hairy legs is important. Good Luck and remeber there are people out there who understand are want to help.

1 like

Thanks everyone for your replies they have been a great help so far. I will await my scan results on Monday and hopefully will then be refered to a lymphedema clinic and be measured properly for a stocking. But I will definately start swimming as sounds the best exercise for me. I have been refered via my go to weight watchers for 12 weeks to help try and loose some weight now as well so fingers crossed all this will help. I will continue to look on the site for ideas for treatments and interested in the holistic treatments but currently out of my reach cost wise.

1 like

Tracey-Jane, all of the above advice is good but diet is really important. This is not just to lose weight but also to help with the condition. If you can avoid all processed food and stick to cooking your own from scratch it really helps, also eat less carbohydrate as this clings on to water and makes the swelling worse. Bread and anything with gluten in seem to be bad for us even if we like them!


Carb,dairy and alcohol free will yield results both in terms of the condition and your weight. If you stick to it, even with moderate exercise you will see the weight come off. It is tough initially but you get used to it after a couple of weeks, lots of lean protein and veg (not too much fruit as this has lots of sugar). Someone also recently recommended an alkaline diet to me but I haven't tried it yet. You should get farrow wrap at least until you get stockings that fit, as other people have said it takes a while to get these right, especially if you are also changing size! Farrow wrap has Velcro straps so will fit regardless and help you get it under control, I often put it over my stocking (I have lymphodema in my left leg following surgery and radiotherapy in my upper thigh) if I'm going to be on my feet all day.


ps I find Yoga (active style like Vinyasa) and Pilates helps


You may also like...