How long can I have my compression stocking off for before the fluid on my foot starts to build up again?

Was diagnosed with Lymphodema in April 2014 on my left foot. I am currently in a Class 2 below knee compression stocking. I am going on holiday in July and I was wanting to find out roughly how long I am able to take my stocking off for before things start to swell again? Does anybody wear their stocking for swimming?

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8 Replies

  • Hi Claireanita80. As far as the swelling goes, it's different from person to person. I can start to swell almost immediately after I have taken my stockings off, even if I keep my legs elevated. If you're going somewhere warm, you may find you will swell more with the heat and you may even get something similar to a heat rash on your lymphie limb(s) if you don't cover up and wear sun cream (although it can happen even with sun cream). If that happens, cover your affected part with a cool damp towel and get in the shade, it will disappear eventually. (This doesn't happen to everyone though). Some people use old compression stockings for swimming as the chlorine in pools isn't good for the material. I don't bother wearing any if I go swimming as the water can act as a form of compression, especially if I'm in water that's waist deep or more. If you do go swimming without a stocking on, but want to put it on after, it's worth putting talc on your leg to make sure it's dry as trying to get a stocking on a damp leg is an absolute nightmare! Other than that, enjoy your holiday :)

  • As jinger says everyone's lymphoedema reacts differently. When I was younger I didn't wear my compression stockings much (if at all) while on the beach/ by the pool ( I am primary, below knee both feet/legs). My legs would swell more but not long term. Now I am older I do wear them most of the time during the day but not for swimming. Overall that is a much more comfortable approach. My approach when younger didn't cause me any long term problems but I have had it since I was 12 so done plenty of rebelling, fortunately with no long term ill effects (for me and my lymphoedema). Mind you as I spent many, many years without a diagnosis compression stockings were not an option for a long, long time. You should be able to tell how your leg is reacting to the flight, the heat etc and if necessary keep your stocking on as much as possible, stay somewhere cool and put your leg up. Enjoy the holiday! One more thing the Lymphoedema Support Network has a leaflet about holidays and lymphoedema.

  • Hi there, this one is different for each of us as well react in different ways. My legs do swell more in the heat and that poses more of a risk of a cellulitis infection, especially from any kind of insect bite. I have other medical conditions that make putting my stockings on difficult so I don't tend to wear them all of the time. I do wear them when it is hot, or if I have more walking than I normally do for example, I don't wear them when swimming but if I was going on holiday I would certainly be wearing them most of the time.

    As you have LE in your foot then you will probably find your shoes become uncomfortable if you don't wear your stockings, due to the swelling so it might be best to take account of that when planning holiday clothing. It really is a trial and error thing but I would be tempted to wear mine most of the time purely because of the cellulitis risk. Enjoy your holiday when it comes, Linda.

  • Great advice from others already. I don't usually wear my stockings in a swimming pool, but might in the sea. I would also wear something on your feet just in case you tred on something underfoot and cut yourself. I have it in my legs and my feet do swell a little. I find kinisio tape really effective on keeping the swelling down on my feet. Precut tape is available on the Internet, but it's an expensive way of buying it. I have been shown by a qualified Lymphoedema nurse how to apply it. Once you know it is easy to apply it yourself to a foot. Enjoy your holiday.

  • Hi, do you put the kinisio tape on instead of a stocking or aswell as?

  • I wear tge tape under my stockings in everyday life. If I swim I cover it with an old calf length stocking. This prevents the tape coming off in the water.

  • Thanks everyone. The swelling in my foot isn't that bad really and I find getting my stocking on and off quite easy x I have already gone down 2 sizes in the compression stocking. I probably won't take the chance and wear a stocking all the time. Will have some old ones for swimming.

  • Hi. When out in the Canaries last year we experienced a heat wave, 45 degrees. I found for me i would get up early,6.30 to 7 and go for a 30- 40 minute walk wearing my stockings. This was a strenuous walk. When back at our villa i would then sit with my feet up reading drinking coffee and having fruit for an hour or so and then grab the towels and stroll down to the pool to get sunbeds for the family and myself. At about 10 when the sun was starting to beat down i would then take my stockings off and use sunscreen I would then throughout the day take regular long cooling off periods in the deep end of the pool as well as taking part at lunchtimes in the obligatory water polo. All of this was without stockings. Once i had had enough of sunbathing for the day i would usually go up to the villa have a cooling shower and sit with my feet up. We would then either go out or sit around eating a meal i would cook. If i felt the need i would put my stockings on but sitting/lying down for most of the day as well as exercising in the mornings with compression worked for me. But as you will find out everyone is different. I am lucky as i am dark skinned so tan easily but i have upped my normal factor 10 to factor 15 to avoid burning so i am able to put my stockings on if required. Hope this helps and you enjoy yourself.

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