swimming and compression sleeve: I was advised that it... - LSN

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swimming and compression sleeve


I was advised that it was not necessary to wear my compression sleeve when swimming. But I have seen some saying on older posts that it should be worn. can anyone please confirm the current advice please

14 Replies

At the recent ILF Conference, a speaker said there was no benefit to wearing garments when doing hydrotherapy. Use some pool time for exercise rather than plugging up and down doing lengths - join an Aqua Exercise class.

Hi there, I know people who wear their stocking while swmming, but the few times I have been swimming since my Lymphedema started I have not worn mine. The pressure of the water is powerful and acts like the compression stocking does. For me it is always a wonderful feeling being able to move freely in the water without the poxy stocking - like before - and not feeling the fluid build up. I do make sure to get in the water strictly after removing the stocking and putting it on right after.

Hi all swimmers, I tried wearing an old sleeve and glove while swimming for a bit as suggested by my physio, but in practice found it didn't make much difference from swimming without it, so now I don't bother. After swimming I find I can leave the sleeve and glove off for a bit which gives the moisturiser I have to use time to soak in a bit!!

I believe that swimming has helped me reduce my arm volume from cc13% to 3%. Unfortunately, after a bout of cellulitis, my arm volume shot up to cc30% and I managed, through swimming only, to reduce it to 16%. I would recommend swimming breast stroke while 'throwing' the arm forward because pby doing so, and without any kind of sleeve as the massage that one get from the water is lost on the sleeve, one gets more benefits from the water than if one swims leisurely. Also, I was told to moisturise my arm before I go into the swimming pool; I suppose this is in order to protect the skin from the chlorine and other chemicals as our 'lymphoedema' skin is more sensitive. If one moisturises the skin after swimming, I would wait more than an hour before I put the sleeve back on as the oils/cream might ruin the elasticity in the sleeve.

I would be interested in the answer to this as well. I've been swimming in our pool without my compression stocking and haven't noticed any problem.

Christo in reply to bikerchic

Yup I agree that swimming gently without compression tights is good exercise. The biggest problem I have is getting 100% dried off before donning the garments again afterwards. I usually have to rush home within 30 minutes to sit under the fan & apply talc before the legs begin to swell again - sigh! Good Luck to one & all!

Lynora in reply to Christo

Christo - is there a hairdryer in your changing room? If not, is there a socket you could use, and keep a small 'travel dryer' in your kit bag to use. A couple of my clients (male) do this when they use the public pool - they use the dryer on 'medium' (not hot) and it helps get rid of the condensation that is hanging around - they also use just the tiniest amount of talc, on a towel, stroked over the lower leg and back of the knee, so that donning their garments is quicker!

Hi king6863, as far as i know, i go swimming once per week and i never had to wear my garments thanks god! Try without it and you feel free for one hour! It is terrific sensation :-) my nurse never told me to wear it for swimming but for walking yeah.

I am glad I have been doing it correctly then, I agree it is very difficult to get the sleeve back on afterwards. I have not been applying moisturiser as I need the sleeve back on for the cycle ride home ( I think I may post about cycling). I will ask what to do about moisturiser when I go to clinic in Sept. Keep well everyone.

I cant swim but plan on going back to aqua classes after many years absence.

Thanks for your advice on this, my whole body not just my lymphy legs will benefit greatly


The pressure of the water is beneficial without garments. It is also worth noting that the chlorine is not good for the garments so if you choose to wear compression then make sure you have a dedicated swimming garment.

Sometimes I wear an old arm sleeve, sometimes not, but I probably prefer with, as my arm feels more supported. I'm not so keen on the 'loose' feeling of the water against the fluid in my arm, feels a bit like major bingo wings if you know what I mean! It sounds to me, overall, it's what your most comfortable with. I've got myself up to 40 lengths and lost 1.5 stones combined with gym and zumba-but be warned- there was a VERY long, slow build up process to get here. (With 2 bouts of cellulitus when I exercised too hard) This has reduced my lymph a little, but made me feel really great, so take it easy on yourself-I'm sure you'll get there.


LSN has produced a leaflet on Recreational Exercise and Movement July 2014 which is free to LSN members. Their recommendations are that your limb in water is supported and it is not necessary to wear your garment. Breast stroke is a good gentle exercise. Start your exercise slowly and build your strength each time you go.

Aqua exercises build slowly, keeping your limb in the water for support. Using floats you can build resistance.

Listen to your body it will tell you if your are overdoing things.

When leaving the pool shower thoroughly to remove all the chlorine from your skin. Then make sure you dry yourself thoroughly. Put on your garment as soon as you can after leaving the pool. Moisturise your skin as soon as possible.

Protect your feet, in the pool, poolside, changing areas. A slither of glass/wood small stone that the eye cannot see can cause serious damage. Keeping you feet covered will reduce the risk of fungal infections like athlete's foot.

Always carry a tube of antiseptic cream for any mishaps.

hi have had lympodema sice 2001 and i find it difficult to cope

my name is michelle

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