Hello everyone. I have primary lymphedema in my right... - LSN

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Hello everyone. I have primary lymphedema in my right leg. I am a 25 years old woman

Id like to go to gym( bodybuilding).


Can you help me in this? Do you know that it is good for me or not? Do you know exactly about sports that I can do? Sports that are good for my leg?

Please help me if you know.

8 Replies

I think this is such a personal thing. Everyone's lymphoedema is different and everyone wants to do different things. Exercise is excellent and you certainly benefit by wearing compression garments at the same time. The Lymphoedema Support Network has a leaflet on exercise and can be contacted through their website. I have primary lymphoedema - both legs and feet (below knee). The reason I say it is such a personal thing is that I have always done exactly what I wanted. I did do some very moderate body building at the gym - I only did "moderate" because I was only interested in building up some strength for holidays i.e. skiing and learning to windsurf. I am not a sporty person and have never been interested in much sport. However I used to do a lot of long distance running. I now do lots of swimming (without my compression garments) and dancing and exercise classes (wearing my compression stockings). I think, because I was a child when it all started - and I didn't get a diagnosis until my 30's, I just did whatever I wanted to - and still do. That wasn't/isn't "heavy" exercise, though, but only because it wasn't my thing. The medical advice might well tell you to be more cautious than I have been, though (well when I was younger). I had multi layered bandaging in my mid 30s and my swellings reduced then (but are still quite significant) - however my swellings have remained at that reduced level since then (for over 25 years).

Hi Valee, I have bi-lateral leg lymphoedema and before i was diagnosed i used to do lots of resistance work at the gym, including 4 spinning classes a week! I hadn't realised that when exercising the body creates additional lymph - so whilst everyone around me was getting slimmer; i was growing in size as my body couldn't drain the fluid! It seems that all the exercise i was doing was detrimental to the condition. So, wearing your compression when exercising is really very important. Whilst i don't do spinning classes and heavy weights anymore; i do lots of interval training, walking and cycling - but always wear compression. The diagnosis should not stop you from exercising - in fact it is really important to continue if you are able to do so. After diagnosis i lost 29% volume through 2 weeks of bandaging and regular MLD - that was 8 years ago. I now use my lympha-press 3 or 4 times a week and together with the occasional MLD my condition is really well managed and the reduction in volume maintained. NNE.

what is a lympha press?

Hey Valee, mine is primary too (bilateral). I was diagnosed when I was 19 and I could manage well. After a minor injury now 2,5 years ago with my bike , my right upper thigh and calf are 2cm bigger then the other....

What I am trying to say is: if you can choose between sports, I would highly recommend doing something with less risks... For example: I loved to run, but then I swopped my ankle and it got much worse.

So now I prefer to swim: less risks of injury, the water stimulates your whole lymph system throughout the body because of the deep breathing and there is no gravity... On top of that it is my only one hour a day that I don't wear my compression stockings and I love that feeling.

Everything of pressure you get on to your legs or not so good. That is why I would not recommend weight lifting because it adds another ...kilo's on your feet to carry...

I even notice that my feet are more swollen when it is cloudy... So if this has already an impact I really choose to have as less pressure on my legs as possible (this also includes: not to get extra weight)...

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask, you can pm me too. I don't mind at all. Since internet time it was good to find fellow lymphies and people that understand you, can give you good advice. I have learned more from fellow lymphies and myself then from doctors (regarding this topic)... Take care! It is good to keep it under control from the beginning, believe me it is worth it!

Hi, I have secondary in both legs as a result of cancer. I used to do lots of sports and taught PE. I have had it for 9 years and am now 58. I swim 3 times a week without support stockings, cycle in the gym and work on weights. I use little resistance on the bike, lift very little weight on the machines and am only having good experience. I also think everybody is different and always try new things slowly. I sometimes wear garments in the gym. I really value the buzz and feel good factor that I get from my cycle, gym and swimming.

Hi Pushkin, the Lympha Press is a pneumatic compression therapy pump with full trousers or jackets - it is excellent as it massages the torso of the body to. if you are UK based and would like further information please email me at :naomi@compressiontherapyuk.com If you are not UK or Ireland based I can put you in touch with the distributor in your country. NNE


Exercise is good especially stretching. Basically any exercise that will stimulate flow. Get advice from a sports advisor who can put in a programme for you as you don't want to stress the leg.

I have used light weights high reps successfully to get a huge amount of fluid off in the last few years, the movement of the muscles helps pump off the fluid and as the lymph is all above the muscle its created a solid bed against which to massage the rest off. Clearly if you try to build too fast tou run a risk of creating mass faster then you can get rid of fluid so you need to use sense and take your time and listen to your body. Any injury wil also be made worse by the lymph, it would cause swelling. But generally if you go slow I can say nothing but positive things about what its done for me so I wish you luck with it :-)

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